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Dust, Creases Slow Ballot Count In Boulder; Workers Have To Inspect Ballots (CO)
The Denver Channel. November 5, 2008

BOULDER, Colo. Election workers in Boulder County were still counting ballots early Wednesday.

Counting machines were not reading some ballots correctly because of dust on the ballots, possibly coming from the creases after the mail-in ballots were folded.

By midnight, 53,522 ballots had been counted. Four hours later, nearly 58,000 of the 170,000 expected ballots had been counted.

Hillary Hall, Boulder County's clerk and recorder, told 7NEWS they should be finished counting sometime Wednesday or Thursday, but the dust issue will slow down election results.

The dust is making the optical scanners think some people overvoted or filled in too many boxes. Dust on the scanner lens can cause a faint streak to appear vertically down a scanned ballot

A team of two people, with a Republican and a Democrat, are visually inspecting each and every ballot to make sure they are accurately counted.

Hall said for this election she used a different vendor but the same machines she has used in the past, and she has never had this problem before.

"It's kind of disappointing. We tested 10,000 ballots. We've worked hard to make sure this is an accurate election, and we've been running 24 hours to do that. We'll continue to do what we need to do to get this election processed," she said.

Hall said she is in problem-solving mode, but soon she will be trying to figure out what went wrong and make sure it never happens again.

Boulder County appeared to be the only county in the state affected by dust.

In the 2004 election, it took the county nearly a week to process all the ballots.

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