Christian County elections coordinator Melinda Humphries said in a phone interview there have been a couple of “hiccups” during today’s General Election, but she wanted to assure voters that those issues have been fixed and voting will continue until 6 p.m.
“We had some hiccups this morning with machines, but we have not had to replace any machines,” said Humphries around 2:30 p.m. today. “I know there were two locations that had paper jams, and we sent our people out and we had those cleared up.”
The paper jams were at one of the Walnut Street Center precincts and one of the Christian County Middle School precincts.
Humphries said one voter put a ballot in sideways which caused the scanning machine to jam.
“These things are going to happen,” she said, noting that the voting process is new to some people. “The election system is not glitch-free. Unless we go back to the old-timey way of paper and pen ballots, we’re not going to be glitch-free.”
Humphries said the scanning machines record the votes electronically, but the paper ballot that voters bubble in with a pen is still kept inside the machine just in case the machine breaks.
“There is a paper ballot trail and it’s scanning the vote too,” she said. “We’ve done internal audits on the machines and they’ve all checked out. But we also love to have the paper trail.”
Another issue occurred at CCMS when a deputy sheriff got sick this morning and had to leave around noon. Humphries said that left one deputy to direct voters to their respective precinct inside, which led to delays and longer lines.
“At CCMS, we have always struggled with getting election officers. We just can’t keep them,” she said. “They are shorthanded there because someone was sick at noon. It’s hard because it puts more work on everyone else — these are not excuses. That’s just the way it is. You can train new election officers, but it takes time to learn.”
Add those issues to more people coming out to vote, and Humphries said the process is naturally going to take a little longer.
“A lot of voters are not accustomed to standing in a line,” she said. “They’re used to walking in, voting and leaving, and now, there’s lines.”
Although no official numbers of voter turnout will be available until likely tomorrow, Humphries said she feels like more people came out, and she is proud of that.
She’s also proud of the citizens who signed up to work the polls as election officers. For many of them, the day started as early as 4 a.m. and won’t end until after the last vote is turned in at the courthouse at 6 p.m.
“There’s no blame that I’m putting on my election officers,” she said. “I pray that these issues don’t make me lose them. I’ve called a few precincts today to just encourage them, and to let them know you’re not going to make every body happy.”
Reach Zirconia Alleyne at 270-887-3243 or firstname.lastname@example.org.