By Associated Press - Saturday, June 7, 2014

JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) - Craighead County elections officials will be asking voters in the upcoming primary runoff to cast paper ballots because of a glitch in the software that accompanies the county’s electronic voting machines.

The issue was discovered Wednesday during a test of the voting equipment, Election Commission Chairman Scott McDaniel told The Jonesboro Sun ( ).

The software issue does not change the vote that was cast, nor does it affect the results in any way, officials said. The issue deals with how the tabulation computer breaks down the total votes by Democrat and Republican.

During the test, 1,180 votes were cast, but the software incorrectly broke down the numbers as 1,060 for Republicans and 1,060 for Democrats.

“Because there is not a race in every Democrat precinct, it is throwing Republican totals in when not needed,” McDaniel said.

The software is coded by Election Systems & Software, which has acknowledged the error and is working to repay the county any lost money after temporarily switching to paper ballots for Tuesday’s primary, McDaniel said.

“They made a mistake, and they’re making it right.” McDaniel said. “They are going to eat the cost to us.”

McDaniel said he was told by the company that the coding of the tabulation software was rushed due to the Memorial Day weekend.

The electronic voting machines are not an issue and could successfully record votes, but the election commission would have to go through each ballot by hand to make sure the correct totals are reported to the secretary of state.

“We could have done it, but results would be late,” McDaniel said.

The commission will still have one electronic voting machine at each vote site to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, but will ask every voter to vote on paper ballots.

McDaniel said he’s never experienced a software issue like this and is just glad it was discovered during a light election cycle.

“If this would have happened in November, it would have been a huge deal,” he said.


Information from: The Jonesboro Sun,

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