The West Virginia voting machine video shot, edited and posted by Video the Vote has generated some controversy, with the Office of the Attorney General of West Virginia weighing in to limit the damage to its reputation.

The magazine Computerworld carried an extended piece the day after the video was posted, which seemed to incorporate large elements of the spin provided by the AG’s office. Instead of flagging the obvious problem (and scandal) that the elections official captured by VTV’s Stephen Schmidt did not know how to calibrate his voting machine, the article charged VTV with manipulating the footage.

Extensively quoting Sarah Bailey, one of the AG’s Deputy Secretaries of State, Todd Weiss’ piece uncritically reported her maintaining that the machine worked perfectly.

Bailey told Weiss that “The machines are designed to maintain previously selected candidates if a voter later chooses a straight party ticket, so those choices have to be manually changed, if desired.”

“That’s what it was supposed to do” she said, before adding “That’s what the screen tells you it did.”

Bailey described the video as “fraudulent.” If so, then a lawsuit should be forthcoming, but it won’t be. Despite phonecalls from the AG’s office blasting VTV, they won’t be issuing any subpoenas. That’s because the video was not misleading or fraudulent. What it showed was an appointed election official (appointed by Bailey’s office) showing utter incompetence in calibrating a machine through which the electorate is supposed to demonstrate its will.

Ian Inaba is quoted right at the end of the piece as saying that “This is the county clerk, and he’s supposed to explain it to voters, and during the process, he even got confused.” This is drowned out by Bailey’s spin.

On the plus side, France24 has some coverage of VTV as does the Washington Post.


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