February 6, 2008 - Rossmoor voting machines nearly decertified
Paper: Orange County Register, The ( Santa Ana, CA)
Title: Rossmoor voting machines nearly decertified
Date: February 6, 2008
At a Rossmoor polling place, eight voting machines were nearly decertified by a poll inspector who thought they showed signs of tampering.
Orange County Registrar Neal Kelley said the machines were not tampered with and were intact and ready for use.
But poll inspector Nia Hartman, a five-year veteran, said the machines were missing blue security stickers, which would have indicated they hadn't been opened. More stickers required on the data ports were intact on only one side, Hartman said.
"I was ready to not let anybody vote," said Hartman, who certified the machines under protest. She said she doesn't believe the machines were sabotaged, but that the stickers' adhesiveness wore out.
The machines potentially affect about 1,400 voters at the Montecito Center in Rossmoor, precincts 35134 and 35129.
Evelyn Colon couldn't wait to cross over.
The 42-year-old Republican scrolled down Tuesday's primary ballot , past McCain, Romney and Huckabee, to the little box reserved for write-in candidates. She wrote, "Hillary Clinton."
"It's about time we had a woman in the White House," Colon said, explaining why she made what is technically a worthless vote. You couldn't really call it a trend, but GOP members, mostly women, were popping up here and there Tuesday, talking of plans to cross over to Clinton in the general election . Some, like Colon, got creative and found ways to support her now.
Rosa de la Torre, 45, of Orange, a counselor at Santiago Canyon College, was already at the polling place but still hadn't made up her mind who to vote for.
"I think it will be an impulse vote," she said.
She did know how she planned to vote on Proposition 92, the community college funding initiative. "We're in a recession," de la Torre said. "We need all the money we can get for education."
At Irvine Valley College, a steady stream of students visited the upstairs polling place in the student lounge, though some weren't able to vote.
"They say, 'Can I register? I want to vote for Barack,' " precinct inspector Merv Best said. "We explain to them they have to be registered in advance, but we don't send them away empty-handed. We give them a registration card and explain this is just the primary; if they register, they can vote in the general election ."
In San Clemente, Bonnie Matt, 78, was voting at Palisades United Methodist Church with her husband, Herman, 86.
Although they are registered Democratic and Independent, respectively, the couple said there was no presidential candidate they liked well enough to vote for, so they left that space blank. McCain is the candidate they like the best. The national issues most on their minds were the economy and the war.
"I'd like the war to end," Bonnie Matt said. "This country is going broke paying for it and we don't like seeing the young men going to war. And my husband knows what that means because he was in the Second World War."
Melisa Barrios went to the polls Tuesday for the first time ever at age 35, drawn by her desire to vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton.
No previous race had ever engaged Barrios, a native of Anaheim, enough to register to vote in the past. "I just felt I needed to give my vote to support her," said Barrios, who works at Cypress College. "Also, this time I thought my vote would count."
Register staff writers Tony Saavedra, Deepa Bharath, Marla Jo Fisher and Jorge Barrientos contributed to this report.
Caption: DOWN TO THE WIRE: Obama campaign volunteer Luca Barton of Echo Park climbs on top of a table to gain better cell phone reception to remind registered voters to vote.
Record Number: 174845887
Copyright 2008 The Orange County Register