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Cuyahoga County again part of voting delays around Ohio  (OH)

Akron Beacon Journal    07 November 2007

Voters in one northwest Ohio county were forced to fill out paper ballots in a special Congressional primary election on Tuesday because some electronic voting machines weren't working, and ballot counting was delayed in another county because of a computer server crash.

A computer system glitch in Putnam County held up voting for some people, said Ginger Price, director of the Board of Elections. Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner ordered voting in the county to remain open until 9 p.m. She also ordered the other 15 counties in the 5th Congressional District to delay reporting results until then.

The problem was traced to flash cards, which include programming for the machines.

"It seems to be widespread," Price said. "I think every precinct in the county has reported back with a problem with at least one machine."

In Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, vote counting was delayed 30 minutes Tuesday night because of a problem with the computer server that uploads totals from memory cards, Board of Elections Director Jane Platten said.

Despite light turnout, the county was still tallying votes after 12:45 a.m. Wednesday with 1,291 of 1,436 precincts counted.

Voters had to use paper ballots at a few locations in Cuyahoga when polls first opened because workers had difficulty getting electronic voting machines running. Platten said the problem was due to insufficient poll worker training, not glitches with the machines.

The county has had problems in the past with poll workers showing up late or not at all to polling locations. Cuyahoga has had equipment malfunctions as well. Thousands of ballots had to be hand counted in the May 2006 primary delaying results for days.

The problem in Putnam was not affecting machines used for the general election, but only the primary being held to replace U.S. Rep. Paul Gillmor, who died in September. Voters had to wait in two separate lines, one for the general election and another for the primary.

The malfunctioning machines were on loan from the Franklin County Board of Elections after Putnam County's machines were destroyed in flooding earlier this year, Brunner's office said.

In the Springfield area, some scanners at a few polling places wouldn't load the software and had to be replaced, said Mary Beth Leep, deputy director of the Clark County Board of Elections.

She said it happened shortly after the polls opened and that it didn't affect the voting.

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