The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

November 6, 2007

Coding error delays school board results

JEFFERSON — A problem that popped up with Ashtabula County’s optical scanning equipment forced an old-fashioned tally of votes in five races, said Richard Hornstein, county election board director.

Ballots cast in council races in Geneva-on-the-Lake, Jefferson, North Kingsville and Roaming Shores were counted by hand late into Tuesday evening, Hornstein said.

Results in another race affected by the tabulator problem, the four-person Conneaut Board of Education contest, won’t be hand-counted until this morning, officials said.

A coding error kept the M100 tabulator machines assigned to those multiple-candidate races from accepting more than one name on the ballot, Hornstein said. An employee apparently did not set up those machines properly, he said.

“It was a coding error,” he said. “It just happens.”

The county’s voting system requires voters to fill in circles on a piece of paper to signal their selections. The tabulator machine scans the filled-in circles and then deposits the paper inside the machine.

Election officials used the paper ballots to count the results, Hornstein said.

“Since the ballot cast is paper and correct, the board of elections will be able to give an accurate count on these five races,” the board said in a statement Tuesday.

“If we didn’t have a paper trail, we’d have a problem,” Hornstein said.

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