Site Map
Voting News
Contact Us
About Us

is NOT!
associated with

Machines delay Riverside County election results 
Nicole C. Brambila    The Desert Sun   February 6, 2008

Broken ballot-counting machines delayed Riverside County results from Tuesday's presidential primary.

At times, one or two of the six ballot-counting machines in the Moreno Valley office broke down. At most times, one could not operate, delaying the final results. On average, officials were able to count about 15,000 ballots an hour.

The machines were expected to count about 400 ballots a minute. Since the polls closed at 8 p.m. Tuesday, they've averaged about 36 per minute.

At this pace, results could take till the end of the week and that's if officials and volunteers work nonstop.

“Once you start the count, it has to be continued (nonstop),” said Doug Kinzel, assistant registrar of voters.

San Bernardino County appeared more behind, with only 15 percent of precincts reported by about 3 a.m. today.

Shortly after the polls closed, the Riverside County Registrar's office provided results from the roughly 103,000 absentee ballots. Officials had said earlier in the evening that s would be provided every hour. The first came nearly three hours after the absentees were revealed.

Though initial estimates suggested the count would finish by 5 a.m., officials were not as optimistic by 2:30 a.m. today.

“I don’t know. We haven’t been through this before," Kinzel said.
Several voting hiccups reported Tuesday

Riverside County's first paper ballot election since 1999 meant slower results on Super Tuesday and a couple of hiccups, including running out of ballots.

SAVE R VOTE, a countywide election watchdog group formed two years ago, reported a countywide shortage of Democratic ballots. In some cases, voters were given ballots printed in Spanish.

County officials blamed relaxed Democratic voting rules that allowed non-declared party voters to cross over. The Republican party only allowed declared voters to vote for Republican candidates.

"With a large percentage of 'decline to state' voters, that means all of a sudden, you have a large number of crossover voters," said Doug Kinzel, assistant registrar of voters.

Registrar officials consider the disintegrating ballot snafu the biggest issue in this election, calling it "a major strain."

"Vendors brought in resources to help duplicate tens of thousands of ballots," Kinzel said.

SAVE R VOTE also reported a malfunctioning electronic voting machine for disabled voters. State law permits only one electronic voting machine per precinct to accommodate disabled voters.

"I think there's been a lot of things that have been very smooth," said Maxine Ewig, a member of SAVE R VOTE. "It took less time for people to vote with the paper ballots than the (electronic voting machines)."

Voting problems have plagued the Riverside County Registrar of Voters for several elections, culminating in an independent investigation last year into irregularities that included long lines at the polls, machine malfunctions and, in some races, weeks-long wait for results.

Even before the polls opened Tuesday morning, the Riverside County Registrar of Voters had to stave off issues with absentee ballots that tore and then an undisclosed amount marked wrong because of a confusing ballot.

Riverside County Registrar Barbara Dunmore said she expected slower results this election, the result of a statewide decertification of California voting machines following a security review last summer.

In August, Secretary of State Debra Bowen ruled California’s electronic voting machines, including Riverside County’s, were susceptible to hacking.

This is the first paper election in the county since 1999.

Before Florida's hanging chads spurred nationwide election reform, Riverside County was among the first in the nation to switch to an electronic voting system in 2000. The county converted to electronic voting machines to speed up election results and save taxpayers about $500,000 on ballot costs.

But being progressive has also been costly.

Riverside County has twice bought more than 3,500 electronic voting machines to meet California election law costing taxpayers more than $27 million, nearing what San Diego County has spent, with twice as many voters.

Officials anticipated primary results would not be available until Wednesday morning.

"It's just a slower process," said Chief Deputy Registrar of Voters Wayne Beckham.

Two hours after the polls closed, the registrar's office hadn't yet begun counting Election Day ballots. About 109,000 absentee ballots have been counted. The registrar's office mailed out about 300,000 absentee ballots and an unknown amount were received Tuesday.

For the first time, the registrar's office offered live video streaming of the vote count. A handful of voters came to the registrar's office in Moreno Valley to watch the count, including Riverside County Supervisor Marion Ashley.

"Yeah, we're watching them make sausage," he said, laughing.

Previous Page

Election Problem Log image
2004 to 2009


Accessibility Issues
Accessibility Issues

Cost Comparisons
Cost Comparisons

Flyers & Handouts

VotersUnite News Exclusives

Search by

Copyright © 2004-2010 VotersUnite!