Voter files complaint over voting machines in New Hanover County

(Source: Raycom Media)
(Source: Raycom Media)
Published: Oct. 25, 2016 at 9:33 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 26, 2016 at 11:53 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Barbara Highsmith says she voted Saturday at Cape Fear Community College for Hillary Clinton for president, but twice the machine showed her vote registered for Donald Trump.

She's one a few people to contact the NAACP with concerns about the integrity of the voting machines in New Hanover County. The NAACP says its received reports from other counties as well. People from both sides have contacted the WECT newsroom the past few days making similar claims for their candidate.

"The voting machines need to be checked. Voters, you need to double check your ballots after you finish," Highsmith said.

Highsmith spoke at a news conference Tuesday in front of the New Hanover County Board of Elections, shortly before filing an official complaint.

New Hanover County Board of Elections Director Derek Bowens says voting machines are calibrated each morning and any machine that experiences an issue is removed from the system until the issue has been resolved.

"We urge all voters to carefully review their selections before casting their ballots, and to immediately report any questions or concerns to elections officials," said Kim Westbrook Strach, executive director of the N.C. State Board of Elections in an emailed news release.

Rev. Kojo Nantambu with the NAACP said the problem resides with the computers and human error was not a factor.

"First of all, that's very ingenuous and condescending for anyone to say that they don't believe claims that come from different precincts and different places because the same thing is happening in Brunswick County, and other counties. That just goes to show you the type of attitude and respect some people have in this country for the average voter, especially African and American and minority voters," Nantanbu said.

Nantambu encouraged all voters who experience issues with voting to contact a toll free number (1-888-OUR-VOTE), which is a number connected to a national group called the Lawyer's Committee.

"This is one of the most critical elections in 100 years. And it is the most contentious in 100 years. Why now are machines malfunctioning in our community or the ones that we have access to?" Nantambu asked.

Some questioned how many ballots have been cast with a review by the voter, but elections officials point out that a review is already a part of the process before finalizing the individual vote.

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