Tuesday, November 07, 2006

trouble in delaware county

when i woke up, i had an email alerting me to this c&l post:

CNN has just reported that about 70 polling places in Indiana did not open this morning. They are saying it was a problem with the machines with the software not being loaded right and right now about half those polling places are open. They are also going to court to get the polling places opened longer. Funny how when you hear people like Ken Blackwell talk, they say there is no problem with the machines - that it is always with the poll workers. Well right next door, we see a problem with the MACHINES!.

i stopped by cnn.com to find a bit more information:

Glitches delayed voters in dozens of Indiana and Ohio precincts. In Delaware County, Indiana, officials planned to seek a court order to extend voting after an apparent computer error prevented voters from casting ballots in 75 precincts.

i went to the indy star website, hoping for more details, but the only blurb i could find was a couple sentences in this story, which is annoying titled "Election Day Report: Few reports of ID problems":

Indiana's new Voter ID law, used for the first time in this general election, was raising few issues more than four hours after polls opened.

"So far today, we've not received any calls about Voter ID," said Jen Fanger, a spokeswoman for Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita, who oversees elections.
She said Rokita, a Republican, was monitoring the situation in Delaware County, where some voting machines were not functioning for two hours or more.

Rokita issued the following statement: "We have put several contingency plans into Indiana law so that voters may continue to vote with confidence. Just one example is that the counties are to supply every precinct in Indiana with back-up (paper) ballots for such situations."

Kip Tew, an Indianapolis attorney coordinating Democrats' statewide efforts to monitor the votes, asserted Voter ID had caused problems during the early voting hours, and that the situation in the Muncie area was the worst confirmed voting problem. Indiana law allows poll workers to keep the polls open past the usual 6 p.m. closing time if extenuating circumstances arise.

Tew said Democrats were seeking to keep the Delaware County polls open until 9 p.m.

Marion County Democrats scheduled a news conference at the City-County Building to complain about problems Republican Clerk Doris Anne Sadler was having this morning administering elections in which several key offices were in play, including a potentially close race involving U.S. Rep. Julia Carson and Republican Eric Dickerson.

matt tully is live-blogging the election, but there's nothing about the voting machine problem on his blog so far.

fortunately, the muncie star press comes to the rescue.

Polling sites in Delaware County will remain open until 8:40 p.m. today to make up for voting time lost this morning when machines didn't work.

County Clerk Karen Wenger reported that blue cards used to activate the voting machines were programmed incorrectly. MicroVote reprogrammed the cards and the machines were working by around 8:30 a.m. Officials did not know yet why the cards had been programmed wrong.

Lennington criticized MicroVote during the hearing, saying the company had let down the voters of Delaware County.

During an election board meeting before the court hearing, board members expressed concerns that poll workers might leave at 6 p.m., and said they would work to make sure polls were staffed until 8:40 p.m.

During the hearing, Lennington said "Some big wheels from Indianapolis called saying you can't do this (extend voting time). Well, I have an answer for that; I'm the judge and I can do whatever I want."

hmmm... i wonder who those "big wheels from indianapolis" were.

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