Commonwealth Journal

November 13, 2012

Incorrect data in monitor caused election snafu

By BILL MARDIS, Editor Emeritus
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset —  

The president of Harp Enterprises, the Lexington-based supplier of electronic voting equipment to Pulaski and 96 other counties in Kentucky, said an improperly uploaded data base in a monitor caused confusion that delayed release of Pulaski County vote totals on Election Night.
Roger Baird said the problem occurred in fusing two data bases in the Pulaski County voting system.
“Fusing two data bases is not flawless,” said Baird. “Each data base takes a manual upload. In manually uploading the monitor, somehow the same data base was uploaded twice.”
Baird, as well as Pulaski County Clerk Ralph Troxtell and members of the Pulaski County Board of Elections, all assured voting data in the main computer were accurate and the election was not affected. Correct vote totals for each candidate were obtained on print-outs from the main computer.
 Candidates and their supporters gathered in the county clerk’s office to watch on a large television-like monitor as votes from each of Pulaski County’s 59 precincts were tabulated.  Viewers get a precinct-by-precinct total of votes cast for each candidate as the tabulation proceeds.
The monitor had election observers oohing and aahing at what appeared to be nearly an 83 percent turnout of Pulaski County’s 44,422 registered voters. This would have been an all-time unheard-of turnout in this county, and maybe even nationally.
Somebody noticed that totals on the monitor were not matching print-outs from the main computer. Something was wrong.
It turned out the main computer was accurate. The monitor was wrong. However, the confusion delayed release of official results until about 11 p.m. Election Night.