New Voting System Brings Challenges - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

New Voting System Brings Challenges

The civil defense conference room is Harrison County's election command on the day after the vote.

Busy hands sorted through hundreds of absentee ballots. Election commissioners help make certain every valid vote is counted.

"We'll be here until we get it done," said an exhausted, but determined circuit clerk Gayle Parker.

She helped oversee the counting and sorting. Parker admits this first "big test" of the new voting machines was a real concern heading into Tuesday's vote.

"Well, overall I was pleased. You know, we were really worried. But we were pleased. And the problems, when we heard about them, we would address them right away," she explained.

Problems included paper jams and battery malfunctions.

Longtime election commissioner Tommy Esposito says any big change is often difficult at first.

"My biggest thing I saw was people still have the concept they get a receipt. I saw a lady looking, trying to get a receipt from the cannister. And there's no receipt," he said.

The election workers spent most of the morning reviewing and counting some one thousand absentee ballots. Their next assignment was tackling the ballots in orange bags. The bags contained "emergency ballots", voters who faced problems with the machines, and had to mark a paper ballot.

"We did have some glitches. The poll workers were unsure of the new machines. I don't know if they were scared of them, but they really did a wonderful job," said the circuit clerk.

Elections officials and poll workers will get to do it all again in less than two weeks. The runoff election is November 21st. 

By Steve Phillips

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