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Local turnout heavy as computer glitch delays count (KY)
Richmond Register. November 45, 2008. By Bill Robinson, Register News Writer

Madison County voters flocked to the polls Tuesday in what could be record numbers with national, state and local races on the ballot.

Out of 52,371 registered voters, 32,537, or 62.13 percent, cast ballots for president, according to numbers released by Madison County Clerk Billy Gabbard.

But, Madison County was one of the last counties in Kentucky to report its vote tallies this year.

Because Madison County uses two types of voting machines, the program created by voting machine vendor Harp Enterprises to read the differing discs will generate a total only after every disc has been downloaded.

As candidates and their supporters anxiously awaited the totals, Gabbard came into the corridor outside his office at 8:35 p.m. to announce that a data disc from a Berea precinct voting machine was generating an error message.

Because its data could not be downloaded, not even a preliminary total could be generated.

A Harp Enterprises dispatched a technician to Richmond, but he did not arrive until 10:20 p.m., and totals were not available until about 11.

More votes were cast in the presidential race than in any other Madison County contest.

An exact number of people who voted was not immediately available.

Many voters, anticipating a large turnout, showed up early.

Turnout was heaviest early in the day, precinct officials said as they delivered data discs from 108 voting machines to the courthouse in Richmond.

Voting may have been heaviest in the Silver Creek precinct of Berea.

About 50 voters were waiting in line at Silver Creek Elementary School when poll workers arrived at 5:30 a.m., said election official Debbie Lainhart.

Until about 10 a.m., the wait to vote was about two hours.

“I’ve been working elections for about five years, and this was the heaviest turnout I’ve seen,” Lainhart said.

“Everyone was very patient and very polite,” she said. “We had no problems.

Some voters came by the school three times before they decided to get in line and vote. At 6 p.m. when the polls closed, more than 75 voters were still in line, she said.

Kentucky law allows voters standing in line at 6 p.m. to vote, but no one may get in line thereafter.

The long line at 6 p.m. made Silver Creek the last precinct to deliver it data discs to the courthouse at about 7:35 p.m.

Voters also were in line early in Richmond.

“When we arrived at Mayfield Elementary School at 5:30 a.m. to set up the voting booths, people were already waiting in line,” said Barry Mosby who worked the Francis precinct.

“Out voters had about a 30-minute wait until about 10:30 a.m., and then it started to thin out,” he said. “After that, most had to wait only about 10 minutes.”

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