We'd Better Win Big [UPDATED]

It's going to be a long week when the first two stories you see reflect just how big the "margin of cheating" is going to be this year. First, from Nevada:

Some voters in Boulder City said they are concerned about fraud at the electronic ballot box.

Voter Joyce Ferrara said when they went to vote for Republican Sharron Angle, her Democratic opponent, Sen. Harry Reid's name was already checked.

Ferrara said she wasn't alone in her voting experience. She said her husband and several others voting at the same time all had the same thing happen.

"Something's not right," Ferrara said. "One person that's a fluke. Two, that's strange. But several within a five minute period of time -- that's wrong."

Clark County Registrar of Voters Larry Lomax said there is no voter fraud, although the issues do come up because the screens are sensitive.

Clark County includes Las Vegas, and no Democrat can win statewide office in Nevada without running up big numbers there. Fancy that.

Second, from North Carolina:

A Craven County voter says he had a near miss at the polls on Thursday when an electronic voting machine completed his straight-party ticket for the opposite of what he intended.

Sam Laughinghouse of New Bern said he pushed the button to vote Republican in all races, but the voting machine screen displayed a ballot with all Democrats checked. He cleared the screen and tried again with the same result, he said. Then he asked for and received help from election staff.

“They pushed it twice and the same thing happened,” Laughinghouse said. “That was four times in a row. The fifth time they pushed it and the Republicans came up and I voted.”

M. Ray Wood, Craven County Board of elections chairman, issued a written statement saying that the elections board is aware of isolated issues and that in each case the voter was able to cast his or her ballot as desired.

Chuck Tyson, chairman of Craven County GOP, remains skeptical. He has been communicating with Wood about the issue and was invited to a meeting Wednesday with state elections officials. There were no further details about that meeting.

“Something is not right here,” Tyson told the Sun Journal. He said he “got two or three calls” from people describing the same problem while they were voting.

“I’ll be matter of fact, I didn’t find that press release satisfactory,” Tyson said, referring to Wood’s written statement.

Tyson reported other problems as well, including long lines waiting for just two voting machines in Havelock, and machines reporting 250 ballots cast where 400 voters had signed in to vote.

That's North Carolina's 1st Congressional District, which the Democrats have owned since the end of the 19th Century. And with no senate or governor's races to contest, the advantages of trickery are harder to discern.

But keep a very close eye on Nevada.

UPDATE: "NC Voter" reminds me that there is indeed a Senate race in NC this year. Republican Richard Burr is such a shoo-in, I'd forgotten all about it -- hadn't checked the polls in ages.

Maybe I'd better rethink that.