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Panel cites "remarkable negligence" in Mercer election problems   
 Associated Press   10 February 2005

MERCER, Pa. Voters in Mercer County were victimized by the quote remarkable negligence end quote of county elections workers during November's glitch-filled general election.
The panel's 22-page report concluded that about four-thousand votes out of 52-thousand cast in the presidential race between John Kerry and George Bush didn't count because of the problems. In one precinct in Farrell, only 55 votes for president were counted although 238 people voted.The panel says the results were caused by a variety of problems, including incorrectly programmed computerized voting machines, machine breakdowns, and a lack of paper ballots when machines did break down.The most serious failure appears to be that county workers didn't properly check to make sure the voting machines were working properly before they were put in place. One machine, for example, was still programmed to collect votes for last year's primary election ballot so it couldn't be used at all.The county's commissioners will now be given oversight of the elections; previously only the chairman got involved in that process. The commissioners say all the problems will be easy to fix with a little bit of organization.

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