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Machines malfunction in 5 towns (PA)
Bucks County Courier Times, May 20, 2009. By: GEORGE MATTAR

Election night turned chaotic in five municipalities as some voting machines were reported either broken or jammed late Tuesday.

Bristol, Wrightstown, Falls, Tullytown and Morrisville all reported voting machine troubles.

County spokeswoman Stacey Hajdak said the Board of Elections will be looking into this problem immediately.

"I can't tell you the exact problems of each machine until a technician examines it. Those answers should be available [today],'' she said.

In Wrightstown, two of the three machines in the township were jammed with paper, described as write-in ballots, said Supervisor Chairman Chester Pogonowski.

In Falls, two machines were broken at Eleanor Roosevelt Elementary School, said Democratic Supervisor Jonathan Snipes.

Two machines were reported broken in Bristol and one each in Tullytown and Morrisville.

Morrisville, Tullytown and Bristol were able to retrieve the votes from the malfunctioning machines.

Democrat Ron Smith, who is running to unseat sitting Republican District Judge Mike Burns in the fall, said even with the machine down in Morrisville, he thought the outcome would force a face-off in November. Both candidates cross-filed for the DJ seat, which covers Morrisville Lower Makefield and Yardley.

"We have numbers back from three of four wards in Morrisville + but so far from what I've seen, I am thrilled with the support I got," he said. "I was outspent by at least 20 to 1."

In Bristol, Democratic Committee Chairman Joe Gasper said one of the machines that malfunctioned was at St. Ann Church in the South Ward, home to council President Ralph DiGuiseppe, who is running for re-election. The borough also was able to retrieve the votes, according to the county's Web site.

The cartridges in all four municipalities were to be taken to a county office for counting late last night, Hajdak said, adding some of the problems could be fixed over the telephone.

Pogonowski in Wrightstown said there were not enough numbers calculated from the one machine to predict a winner. Incumbent Jane Magne was seeking re-election and was running against Democratic challenger Le Sheppard.

"It appears the two machines were jammed with paper ballots, which is fine, but that took those two machines out of service. We were able to continue with the third machine. We don't have any numbers now, but all the information was recorded on the cartridges and those two machines will go back to the Board of Elections," Pogonowski said.

Sheppard said he was only seeking to win the primary.

"There were plenty of write-ins, more than I thought there would be," he said late Tuesday.


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