OFFICE OF ELECTIONS
Election officials explain delay in releasing results
Delays in compiling and verifying election returns meant that final results would not be available until well past deadline previously announced by the state.
The state Office of Elections had hoped that 95 percent of the vote would be collected and reported by 11:30 p.m., but as of 1:15 a.m. many of the results still had not been compiled.
"It's not a glitch, everything's really slow tonight," said an exasperated Rex Quidilla, the state Office of Elections spokesman last night. "We're not having problems," he insisted.
Quidilla said part of the reason for the delay was the melding of election information from several different sources. The state has two contracts to count election returns with different vendors and different counting systems. One is with Election Systems and Software, which counts the paper ballots. The other contract is with Hart Intercivic, which provides the electronic direct recording machines.
For this election, Hart compiled the returns, after both systems had counted their votes. This was also the first year that printers were used with the Hart system to provide a paper trail for the votes cast on the electronic direct recording machines.
Quidilla explained that in addition to counting and compiling the results, they also have to be prepared for the Web and printed out and double-checked which was taking longer than in past elections.
Kitty Lagareta, an election observer, said in addition to delays because of the two different systems, there were also a few problems with the procedures to shut down and properly audit the results.
As for the hope that results would be available before midnight last night,
"We were a little Pollyanna" Quidilla admitted. "We want to get it fast, but we want to get it right."