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Pennsylvania Voters Report a Few Cases of Vote Flipping

Scattered reports of voting machine glitches in Pennsylvania that cause vote flipping has caught the attention of Presidential Nominee Donald Trump.
Lynn Meaney votes at the Helen Kate Furness Library in Wallingford, Pa. Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016.David Swanson / AP

Scattered reports of voting machine glitches in Pennsylvania — where some voters said they tried to vote the Republican ticket only to see the Democratic boxes checked on their touchscreen — caught the attention of Donald Trump.

"There are reports that when people vote for Republicans, the entire ticket switches over to Democrats. You've seen that. It's happening at various places today," Trump said.

"We have to be careful, we have to see what it is," Trump said.

Numerous reports about the issue across several counties in Pennsylvania — where four of five voting machines do not have a paper trail — popped up on social media and local news outlets.

NBC News did not witness any of the issues, and it was not clear if the phenomenon was the result of voters not tapping the screen correctly or a technical issue with some machines. Two voters who spoke to NBC News said they used their fingers to vote on the screens, not a stylus designed for that purpose.

The Pennsylvania Secretary of State’s office, which oversees elections, could not be reached for comment. A spokeswoman for Allegheny County said voters in Robinson had reported that the machines were showing the wrong selection — but officials were not able to replicate the issue.

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"All machines were tested again with Judge of Elections witnessing and votes were exactly as reflected,” said the spokeswoman, Amie Downs.

Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis said in a statement that her office is aware of so-called vote-flipping complaints in four townships.

“The District Attorney’s office is seeking further information from the Bureau of Elections; however, at this point, information received so far does not indicate criminal behavior," she said.

In many of the cases, it appears the voter noticed the discrepancy between how they intended to vote and what appeared on screen during the review process, before the vote was finalized, and they were able to retry and vote as they wanted.

Kylee Ensminger, who lives in Clarion County, told NBC News she went to a polling place in Beaver Township and used her finger to try to vote the straight GOP ticket on the touch-screen.

“They gave me the one machine that was open. I put in my card and it told me the steps to vote, and when I went to press Republican, everything went to Democrat. I tried to do that four times, and on the fourth time it went Republican,” she said.

She said she complained to poll workers and was told, “Oh, there were a couple of other people who said that too.”

Ensminger said she was "stunned" — although she also acknowledged that days earlier she had shared on Facebook a warning about possible vote-flipping, reposting a video circulated by an anti-Clinton account that appeared to date from 2014.

"I was aware that could happen," she said. "That's why I was so careful voting today."

She added, "My personal opinion? I think this has been rigged."

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Beverly Rupp, 54, of Armstrong County, said she had a similar experience when voting at the fairgrounds in Wayne Township.

“I tried to cast a straight Republican ticket and it kept beeping at me and wouldn’t give me anything in the block,” she said.

“So I though I’ll vote individual. I clicked Trump and it worked so I thought, ‘Well, I want to try the whole ticket.’ So I unclicked Trump and cleared the screen and went back and clicked Republican and it brought up all Democrats. I unclicked it and it went away, and I pushed Republican again and nothing happened. The second time I clicked Republican, it worked."

Rupp, who runs an antiques business, said she went to the polling table and was told there had been problems with the machine earlier and workers restarted it and thought it was fine. Her husband went to vote at 1:30 pm, used the same machine and had the same problem, she said.

This time, she said, poll workers told her that if you put your finger right in the middle of the square it didn’t work; voters needed to touch the side of the square to get it to register correctly.

"They’re saying it’s calibration problems," she said.

Rupp said she can buy that but thinks it sows suspicion.

"Everything should be legit and working when you get there," she said. "It looks bad — it makes you skeptical of the whole system."

Justin Burke, 26, said his vote flipped when he voted Republican all the way down in Schuylkill County.

“I had an issue this morning and I wasn't the only one because there was a note scribbled on my machine about it picking Democrat when you selected Republican," Burke said.

Burke said he used his finger, not a stylus. He didn't think a stylus was available. “The machines looked old and not very cutting edge,” he said. “I chose all the Republicans manually and had no further trouble.”