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Miami Co. count in, delayed by equipment failure (OH)
Dayton Daily News. November 5, 2008. By Nancy Bowman, Staff Writer

TROY An Election Day that began with large cups of coffee at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday ended with weary smiles at 4 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 5, as unofficial results were handed out at the Miami County Board of Elections.

"We had a major piece of equipment go down. We started over, essentially," elections board Chairman Roger Luring said of the extra time needed to count 7,500 paper ballots after a memory card failed.

Things were moving along fairly smoothly as results of the electronic machine voting that occurred Tuesday were being released outside the elections office at the county Courthouse.

There was a turn around 9:30 p.m. when election officials said it would take time possibly a few hours to count the paper ballots cast Tuesday because they had to be scanned and ballots with questioned markings checked by election workers and approved by the board.

That process was moving faster than board members had expected, but hopes of a midnight finish were dashed as a memory card malfunctioned, taking with it the count of more than 7,500 paper ballots cast in early and absentee voting.

"We were this close" to finishing the Tuesday paper ballots count when the failure occurred, board member Jose Lopez said, as he held two fingers slightly apart.

Many of those who had waited for results left without answers because the Tuesday paper ballot count had yet to be added to the early voting paper ballots and the paper absentee ballots for a total of up to 18,000 ballots whose counting was delayed, elections Director Steve Quillen said.

Scanning machines from the Premier Elections office in Montgomery County were brought in and the ballots that had been counted on the failed memory card were rescanned beginning at 2 a.m. by board members, staff and a couple of volunteers.

"We're going to stay the course," Luring said as the additional machines were being delivered for the recount.

By 4:10 a.m. the recount was done and the unofficial elections report was in the hands of all four board members. They had initially planned to meet at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, but canceled with the electronic and paper ballots counted and a report on its way electronically to the Secretary of State by 4:30 a.m.

Quillen said 72 percent of the county's registered voters had their votes counted by Wednesday morning. The office also has 1,001 absentee overseas and military ballots to count plus 1,788 provisional ballots that will be reviewed before the official count, which must be done by Nov. 25.

At the end of the longer-than-expected day, county voters had decided to keep Jack Evans of Tipp City as county commissioner and John Alexander of Piqua as county recorder.

Unofficial totals showed voters approved tax issues to build new K-12 buildings for the Milton-Union district and a new high school for the Miami East district.

Voters in the Newton local schools around Pleasant Hill apparently defeated two proposals to cut district funding. In Tipp City, a permanent improvements issue was renewed for the city schools, but an accompanying renewal and increase of an emergency operating levy failed.

In the village of Fletcher, voters defeated, 60 percent to 40 percent according to unofficial totals, a levy to keep the part-time police department.

And, in Troy, voters approved the sale of alcohol at the city owned Hobart Arena, 57 percent to 43 percent.

Contact this reporter at (937) 225-2292 or nbowman@DaytonDailyNews.com.

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