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State to probe performance of Toledo election board

Associated Press   10 November 2005

TOLEDO, Ohio - The state plans to investigate the Lucas County Board of Elections after the final vote count from Tuesday's election was not released until 9 a.m. Wednesday, the last among Ohio's 88 counties.

The performance was frustrating because of improvements the board had been making, including a glitch-free Sept. 13 primary, said Carlo LoParo, a spokesman for the office of Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell.

"It's an all-too-familiar process at the Lucas County Board of Elections," LoParo said Wednesday. "We'll begin by interviewing staff and reviewing their preparation plans."

Tuesday's vote was the first full Lucas County ballot to use touch-screen voting machines.

At six precincts, poll workers misplaced cards that the worker must to authorize the machine to turn on, LoParo said. A handful of voters said they couldn't wait.

Paper ballots were being used within 10 minutes, and elections officials made new cards that were sent to the polling places by about an hour after polls opened, LoParo said.

The board also used a rover system for collecting the memory cartridges, which hold each machine's vote totals. Each rover had to collect cartridges from five polling places, and if one had technical problems, the count of other four would be delayed too.

At the board office Tuesday night, the red and green bags holding memory cartridges and printed tapes of votes lined the hallways, were piled on the floor in the elections office and dumped in a large cart sitting unattended near the elevators.

Messages seeking comment were left at the board Thursday. Elections Director Jill Kelly said on election night that not enough people had responded to her request for paid volunteers to help run the election.

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