Voters have push-button power to avoid Election Day errors

(AP file)

(SAVANNAH) –  There is no need to worry about voting machines switching votes, that’s the word from the Chairman of the Chatham County Board of Elections.

Thom Mahoney, III says every person entering a ballot booth on election day has the power to make sure that the touch screen device they are using records the vote that’s intended by each voter. But mechanical or electronic failure is not the most common error poll workers see during an election, Mahoney says it’s human error.

“Typo errors and things like that, so I would say typo errors.” said Mahoney.

The touch screen machines used for voting can turn an unintentional touch into a selection on the ballot too according to Mahoney.

“That is a problem of an inadvertent touch with another part of your body, certainly if you’re not using your one digit, uh, ya’ know, if you’re using your fist, I don’t advise that, but it could also be a necklace, we’ve seen that before, someone’s leaned over the machine and their necklace could hit the machine.” Mahoney said.

The wrong touch or a typo does not have to lead to casting a ballot that does not reflect the voter’s choices, Mahoney says there is a fail safe built into the electronic balloting process that protects every voter’s intention, if they take the time to use it. Mahoney says the next-to-the-last step is where any mistake can be caught and more importantly corrected.

The review button is key to making certain votes are cast correctly.

“That’s absolutely critical, because there’s been a lot of concern, a lot of angst, uh about the voting machine recording something that wasn’;t the intention of the voter. The voter has complete control over that because at the end of the ballot there’s an opportunity to review the ballot before casting it.” said Mahoney.

He says if there is a problem with your vote on Election Day, not just in Chatham County, but anywhere people are voting, Mahoney says voters need to simply raise their hand to get the attention of a poll worker. He says any problem can be fixed, but only before the vote is actually cast.

Once the vote is cast, Mahoney says there is no changing it. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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