‘Variety’ of voting machine troubles noted during primary

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, August 8, 2007

While party officials had to overcome some voting machineglitches, a 41 percent voter turnout by the end of Tuesday put mostLincoln County incumbents on the road to re-election, according tounofficial final results of yesterday’s primaries.

Helen Funk, Democratic executive committee chairwoman, reporteda “variety” of voting machine-related difficulties earlyTuesday.

Funk said there were some problems with starting up the machinesin some areas. She also mentioned a printer problem at the Ruthprecinct and at Montgomery there was a problem with a piece ofequipment used by the poll manager when handling voter cards.

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Chuck Nelms, Republican executive committee chairman, alsoreported some start-up issues.

“The machines were not found to be as reliable as we had hoped,”Nelms said.

Nelms said a technician had to be dispatched to address someproblems in a few precincts. The machine issues were able to befixed, but that still meant they were out of service at least for awhile.

“It did take away from their availability,” Nelms said.

Later in the day, vote-counting went relatively smoothly in thecircuit courtroom at the government complex. A standing-room-onlycrowd awaited election results until most all were counted byaround 10:30 p.m.

That left 771 absentee or affidavit ballots to be counted.Election officials steadily worked into the early morning hours toget those counted.

Then they realized an end-coded ballot, which is used to closeout the counting process, was missing. Copiah County officials hadone of the ballots and Sheriff Steve Rushing and Diebold technicianLorenzo Spann made an early morning trip to the Hazlehurst.

Funk said she believes events went well Tuesday.

“Everything went well tonight except for that,” said Funk,referring to the missing end ballot.

In local results involving state races, county voters mostlyfollowed the statewide trends in backing those who led theirparties’ tickets.

One exception, though, was the Lincoln County supportedincumbent Insurance Commissioner George Dale. Dale lost hisre-election bid to challenger Gary Anderson.

In Lincoln County, Dale garnered 5,484 votes to Anderson’s3,624.

Overall, about 9,500 people voted in the Democratic primary herewhile a little over 1,000 participated in the GOP primary.

“We did a little better than I thought,” Nelms said.

According to results 10,777 ballots were cast between the twoprimaries. That represented a voter turnout of just over 41percent.

Democratic party officials reported lines of voters waiting tocast their ballots at several precincts when they were scheduledclose at 7 p.m.

“We were worried about turnout for a while,” Funk said. “Butthen people started coming out.”