Hamilton County Vote Scanner Feature That Wreaked Havoc Should Never Have Been On

Nov 6, 2018

Voters all over Hamilton County Some experienced confusion and frustration at the polls after scanner machines began spitting their ballots back out at them Tuesday morning.

And it was all due to a feature on the machine that the Board of Elections has had for several years before but never used in an election, Hamilton County Board of Elections chairman Tim Burke told WVXU. 

"The scanners were spitting out ballots that were under-voted and the poll workers had never been trained on what to do about that,'' Burke said. "This should never have happened and it happened in every corner of  the county." 

"The scanners in the polling place were programmed to provide notice to voters on any contests that were under voted (i.e. when a voter does not vote for all candidates or contest appearing on the ballot)," the board stated in a release issued Tuesday morning. 

This practice allows the voter to review the ballot to make changes or additions before officially casting his or her vote. 

"If the voter does not wish to vote for all candidates or contests on the ballot, the voter may cast their ballot 'as is' by pressing the Cast Ballot button," the release explained. 

The confusion has caused some delays at the polls, causing the the board to alert poll workers in all 559 precincts to watch the scanners carefully and assist voters who were confused over their ballots being rejected by the scanner. 

"It was a simple problem to solve, but the poll workers had no training in how to deal with this, so they had to be told on the spot,'' Burke said. 

Burke said he is not aware of any voter being disenfranchised because of the fact that this feature of the scanner was operating. Burke said none of the four-member board of elections were aware that this feature was operating when the polls opened at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday. 

The board of elections will conduct an investigation into what happened, Burke said. 

"But not today,'' Burke told WVXU. "First, we have to get everyone voted and have a vote count."