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Computer glitch delays vote count in Sarasota County  (FL)

WWSB   27 August 2008

A glitch with the optical scanning machines used Tuesday night had the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections busy Wednesday.

When workers tried to count absentee ballots on election night, the optical scan machines would not communicate with the server.  So more than 10,000 absentee ballots had to be hand-counted one-by-one starting Wednesday morning, and they're still counting them late Wednesday.

"We could not get the absentee ballots totals to upload into the main server to combine all of the totals together for absentee early voting," says Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent.  So workers had to count them individually.  "We had to manually add those together, and obviously when you're doing something manually it takes a lot more time."

Dent says after they are counted by hand, they will re-scan all of the absentee ballots.

Dent says the machines were tested before Tuesday's primary and everything was fine.  "There was nothing the matter with the scanners at all.  Scanners worked, it was just uploading them into the server."

Dent says they are counting them all as quickly as possible, and even with the problems, they still had official numbers by the end of Tuesday night.  "In the end, we had a good election.  We were able to report to the division of elections all of our results."

Dent says the machines will not be fixed by November's election, and Sarasota County will be given ten additional precinct scanners for voters to use.

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