Computers Blamed for Slow Vote Results - - Jackson, MS

Simpson County 08/08/07

Computers Blamed for Slow Vote Results

By David Kenney  

Electronic voting machines are used statewide to speed up the voting process and make counting votes easier.  In Simpson County, the process was actually slowed this election.  Vote tallies weren't completed until more than 20 hours after the polls had closed.

The counting process was still underway at noon Wednesday when WLBT arrived at the Simpson County courthouse.

We asked Election Commissioner Murray Keith what the holdup was, and his answer was "no comment." When we asked to sit in on the vote count, he told us to leave.

The votes were counted by circuit clerk Cindy Jensen and a representative from Diebold, the manufacturer of the voting machies. 

While videotaping the counting process, Keith put paper over the windows to the election office to block our view.

Throughout the day candidates also filed into the courthouse to find out who was winning and what was taking so long.

"I'm kind of surprised," said Randy Moore, a candidate for Simpson County supervisor who was among those waiting for results. "I thought it would go a little quicker with the new machines, (but) everything that's new is going to have trouble. I don't know what happened."

"This is a new system, new machines, new equipment," said another candidate for supervisor, Curtis Skiffer. "(It's) possibly machine error, possibly human error. What good would it do for every one to get frustrated?"

Jensen, the circuit clerk, tells WLBT an interruption in data transfer from the voting machines into the computers caused the delay. This is also only the second time electronic voting machines have been used in Simpson County.

The Secretary of State's office says counties have two days to certify their elections, and until the 17th to have those results to them. It's a process some counties are still struggling through.

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