Elections in the News

Counting issues

  • Colorado (Boulder): A problem with “paper dust” (small specks and particles that do not allow ballots to be scanned correctly) in mail-in ballots could slow down the count. The problem implies that poll workers have to go through each ballot. The county had experienced a surge in mail-in ballots of which about 24% had been counted by 7 p.m. Tuesday.
  • Colorado (El Paso): Vote counting was suspended because poll workers had to evacuate the building due to a fire alarm. Later, AP reported that vote-counters were allowed back into the building.
  • Florida: “Scattered problems with optical scan machines, which count the ballots, and malfunctioning electronic signature pads were the most common complaints reported across the state.” For more on Florida, check out this link.
  • Florida (Collier): According to Collier Supervisor of Elections, “about 1,000 ballots have white blemishes in the tracking area on the left hand margin that won’t allow them to be read by the vote-scanning machines that count the ballots. The blemishes are blamed on manufacturer’s error. (…) To correct the problem, Collier elections officials voted to use black, felt pens to correct the white marks. The corrections will be made at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Supervisor of Elections Office, and will be open to the public.”
  • Florida (Hillsborough): At 10:45 p.m. “the county’s scanning machines were having a transmission problem sending in their results to the Election Services Center.” It appears like the problem will take sometime to be solved. The Supervisor of Elections “seemed to blame Premier Election Solutions, the vendor the county hired to scan the votes, for the problems (Tuesday’s night).”
  • Idaho (Cassia, Bannock and Buttle): A surge of voters created the need for extra ballots, so the counties decided to make photocopies. According to Idaho’s Secretary of State, this implies that the affected counties “may have to run some copies of the ballots and then end up hand-counting them. (…) If the ballot shortage spreads, it could cause counting problems. Hand-counting is a manageable problem in rural counties, but it can dramatically slow the results in more populated precincts.”
  • Ohio (Cleveland): A member of a civil-rights organization said that a scanning machine malfunctioned during early Tuesday. Later, he returned to the polling place because “he was concerned that his vote wouldn’t be counted and got into an argument with an elections worker.” Apparently, he was later arrested “on charges of resisting arrest, criminal trespass and disorderly conduct.” According to Cuyahoga Board of Elections chairman, “some voter came in three or four times concerned about a vote (…) At some point, a poll worker called police and said, ‘Hey, enough’s enough.'”
  • Pennsylvania (Philadelphia): A voter rights group requested emergency ballots being counted after the polls close because they considered “illegal and unconstitutional to put off counting the emergency paper ballots when other regular votes are tallied within hours.” However, a judge rejected the request.
  • West Virginia (Marion): Scanning machines broke down. As a result “ballots were in from 61 of the county’s 76 precincts by 9 p.m., but Commissioner Wayne Stutler said there was no telling when they might be counted.” According to AP, this “appeared to be the most serious challenge in an electoral day otherwise marked by only minor, inconsequential problems.”

Inés and Janell