Jefferson County Clerk blames faulty voting equipment for delay in election results

 Jefferson County Clerk Carolyn Guidry seemed pleased at voter turnout for the 2014 mid-term elections in Jefferson County.

She says 37% of the county's 146,039 registered voters cast ballots, that's 53,710 voters who participated.

However Guidry, who won re-election herself, was not pleased at how the county's electronic voting system performed.


Malfunctions

caused the vote count to be delayed, and final results were not available until 4:00 a.m. the day after the elections.

Guidry said, "It's very frustrating when I have employees working 24 hours on elections, because of the flaws of a system."

Guidry blames ES&S voting equipment the county purchased in 2006.  Tuesday's flaw was with the scanner that counts mail-in ballots, forcing Guidry to call for a technician to fix it, the closest one was in Tyler.

It would take until 4 a.m. the next day to count all 3900 mail-in ballots, and when they were all counted some Republicans who had been in the lead, ended up losing.  Guidry says that's because two-thirds of the mail-in ballots favored Democrats.

But the mail-in ballot scanner was not the only problem of the night, not all voting machines had been shut down which made it impossible for votes in those machines to be counted.

Guidry said, "Which is another thing about this voting system we do not like because you have to close every individual touch screen in order to be able to tabulate the totals of the election."

It forced election workers to go back to Sabine Pass, Travis Elementary in Port Arthur and Theodore Johns Library in Beaumont to close machines.

Guidry showed us the ratings given to ES&S when commissioners were considering getting a new system in 2006, it was not her choice, nor the system that scored the highest among evaluation committee members.

Guidry said, "It was not the best system nor has it been the best vendor to deal with."

But it's what county commissioners chose, and Guidry says the county is now stuck with the system, until possibly late next year or early 2016.

That's how long it might be for the state to certify new systems.

 The company that scored the highest in 2006 as Hart Intercivic, which Harris County currently uses, and Guidry says despite the much larger population there, she says she is unaware of Harris County going through the same issues that Jefferson County has experienced during multiple election cycles.

She also said that the mail-in ballot scanner had recently been serviced and even tested before Tuesday's election, but it still malfunctioned.

Guidry also said despite the close margins of several races, no candidate had yet requested a recount.


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