Texas Glitch Temporarily Switches Voters to Paper Ballots

Amid rumors of vote swapping in Texas, officials in Chambers County temporarily gave out paper ballots after an unrelated malfunction.

Published Oct 26, 2016

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On 25 October 2016, claims of "vote switching" in Texas were exacerbated by an unrelated issue in Chambers County that same day. 

According to rumors, people throughout the state were witnessing their votes switch from Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton, a claim perhaps spurred by speculation that the state of Texas (typically a red state) was "in play," with an uncertain political future.

Although claims about swapped votes remain unsubstantiated, there was at least one genuine voting malfunction. According to local reports, votes for a state court of appeals race (not the presidential election) failed to appear when voters attempted "straight ticket" selections on their ballots:

An error in the voting machine programming by Election Systems & Software (ES&S) caused votes for one statewide court of appeals race not to be entered when a voter tried to vote straight ticket in either party according to a release from Chambers County ... The Texas Secretary of State's office informed Hawthorne to create emergency paper ballots to continue voting until the problem could be fixed according to the release.

The glitch affected each party equally.  Officials said that paper ballots were standard in the event of a malfunction:

emergency paper ballots

Another local source explained that the votes were entered manually:

Voters weren't able to straight ticket vote for their party [on 25 October 2016], so people had to vote line by line down the ballot.

All voting equipment was expected to be restored within 24 hours.


Kim LaCapria is a former writer for Snopes.

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