Tech Issues Delay Election Results in Douglas County, Wash.

The county uses a tabulation machine to count the results and had to convert the file that machine created to the type of file that the secretary of state’s office’s computers could read, according to election officials.

by Tony Buhr, The Wenatchee World / August 8, 2019
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(TNS) — Computer problems delayed release of Douglas County election results by about 90 minutes Tuesday night.

The delay was caused by the county’s inability to send results to the state, Douglas County Auditor Thad Duvall said Wednesday. Results were not posted on the county’s elections webpage until 10 p.m.

Polls closed at 8 p.m. Tuesday. Chelan County posted its results about 8:15 p.m.

Douglas County county knew the results at the regular time of between 8:15 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Duvall said. But unlike past elections, the county needed to send the results to the Washington Secretary of State’s Office. Before, the county would just load the results onto its website.

The county uses a tabulation machine to count the results. It had to convert the file the tabulation machine created to the type of file that the secretary of state’s office’s computers could read, Duvall said.

“We had the good numbers on our end probably around 8:15 and when we sent the files to the secretary of state when they converted the numbers, their numbers were just a few numbers off,” he said.

Washington state’s new voting system, VoteWA, was not to blame for the problem, Duvall said.

Each county still uses a tabulation system and there are about four to five different ones in the state, he said. Douglas County uses a Hart InterCivic system and at least one other county with the same system also experienced a problem on primary election night.

“In our state this new (VoteWA) system is a mainly voter registration system and an election management system and a reporting system,” Duvall said. “But it is not a tabulation system and we still have probably four or five different tabulation systems in the state.”

Hart InterCivic has new software that will not require a file conversion, he said. Duvall hopes that the software will be ready before the general election, but he isn’t sure.

“They have to go through a major testing process,” Duvall said. “So they are tested through the national level and get approval through through the Election Assistance Commission. Then they go into each state and Washington state requires that the state also tests the election software and approves it.”

Duvall sent an email to the secretary of state’s office Tuesday night asking whether the new software has been tested, he said. If it has then Douglas County can update their system and the problem will be solved.

The general election is Nov. 5.

©2019 The Wenatchee World (Wenatchee, Wash.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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