Malfunction held up final election tallies
by Bailey Richards
HAZARD — A machine malfunction with one of the e-scan machines at the Walkertown precinct held up getting the official election results for the recent primary election in Perry County.
According to Haven King, Perry County Clerk, each and every ballot is counted either electronically or a paper method. Once it is confirmed that all three of these numbers match, a count can be considered official.
After all of the ballots were in on the evening of the May 22 primary, one of the machine’s numbers did not match up, King said.
An e-scan machine that scans paper ballots contained a memory card that did not match the computer and paper ballot numbers. The machine had to be opened and the votes counted by hand. Ordinarily, this cannot be done until 10 days after the election, but if a motion is filed in court, then it can be opened sooner.
The ballots in the Walkertown machine would not alter the election’s winners, however, as only 21 ballots were in the machine and none of the races were close enough that this small number could change the outcome.
“The closest election was the Republican election for commonwealth attorney, and that was a little over 100 (in difference),” said Perry County Circuit Judge Bill Engle.
Despite the ballots not having an impact on the winners of the race, Judge Engle said that for the American democratic process it is important to make sure every vote is counted.
“It is really important that everybody gets their vote counted, because that is the essence of the election in the country is that it is fair and impartial,” said Engle.
Engle and King began talking to other county clerks and determining the protocol for opening the scanner and counting the ballots early on the morning after the election.
An action was filed by the Perry County Attorney, and it was passed later in the day on Wednesday, May 23. They were able to get the machine opened and the votes accounted for within less than 24 hours of the polls closing.
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