The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
LOW hits glitch with new ballot-scanning system
Some Orange County voters got their first chance to try a new voting system this year, and ran into a few problems.
The new system, which replaces touch-screen voting machines, requires a voter to mark a paper ballot, which is then fed into a scanning counter to record the votes.
Charles Hodges, the chief election officer at the Lake of the Wood’s Community Center polling place, said the scanners rejected some ballots this morning, causing a brief delay. He estimated that 20 to 30 ballots were rejected, causing a delay of less than 30 minutes.
Hodges said he suspects that some of the rejections were because the voters had marked too far outside the box on the ballots, and some others may have been caused by voters pressing too hard on the felt tip pens when they were doing the marking, causing the ink to bleed through. Since there were amendments on the back of the ballot, the machine may have seen the bleed-through marks as invalid votes, Hodges said.
A representative of the company that provided the new voting machines was on hand and helped resolve the issues, Hodges said. There were no significant delays in the afternoon voting, he said.
Judy Kenestrick of Lake of the Woods said she didn’t have any problems voting. Her husband, Bob, wasn’t so lucky.
“I was trying to go too quickly, and started filling in the wrong one, so I had to get another ballot,” he said. “It threw me off guard. I thought I was just going to punch some buttons. Coloring inside the lines has never been my thing.”
Nancy and Kevin Matteson, were not too impressed with the new voting system.
“It seems like it is going backwards,” Kevin said. “You’d think electronics would be more efficient and effective.”
“We were touch-screening,” Nancy added, “and now we are back to coloring in dots, like we were in school taking a test.”