Scanning problems, software issues and a high number of absentee ballots slowed vote counting Tuesday.
“It took until about 1 a.m.” (Wednesday) to finish,” county clerk Jerri Torczon said.
A state elections staffer and a contractor from the Omaha, Neb., company that sold vote tabulator machines to the state flew to Cody from Cheyenne on Tuesday to help get things moving.
The trouble began early that morning when scanners at the polls began having problems in precincts throughout the county, she said.
“The bottom of the ballots have a precinct code and a sequencing code and some of the machines were reading the first code, when they should have been reading the second,” she added.
That problem was solved by about 10 a.m., but some software issues persisted until about 10 p.m., she said.
The state elections staffer and contractor helped solve the problems from the elections office in Cody. (For every primary and general election the Secretary of State’s office reserves a state airplane so officials can travel quickly from Cheyenne to any location they are needed.)
Preliminary election results weren’t posted on the county elections website until about 10 p.m. Tuesday.
“Once we were able to get the tabulators working, we got the ballots from the polls counted quickly,” Torczon said.
Absentee ballots were another matter, she said.
“They come in folded in half, so it’s labor intensive to count them,” she added.
In all, 4,304 absentee ballots were mailed out, and 4,061 were completed by voters and counted, Torczon said.
There were 14,510 voters registered before the election, but a total of 14,706 ballots were cast in the county, putting the county-wide voter turnout rate at about 101 percent, she said.
A significant number of people registered at the polls, Torczon said, driving turnout numbers above 100 percent in several precincts, Torczon said.
The highest turnout rate was 128 percent in precinct 9-1 (Powell center and west), while the lowest was 89 percent in precinct 7-2 (Valley), she said.
(Mark Heinz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)