Three Maine towns will continue hand-counting ballots on election night after turning down a state offer of free machines to tabulate the results. Litchfield, Greenville and Winterport ultimately rejected the offer after being given one last chance to get in on the deal by Friday. The Secretary of State’s office last fall offered new state-leased tabulating machines to 67 municipalities with more than 1,500 voters that still counted ballots by hand. The offer aimed to get more accurate returns and ease the burden on ballot clerks who sometimes count ballots into the wee hours.
In Litchfield, none of the ballot clerks wanted the machines, said Rayna Leibowitz, chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen who also serves as a ballot clerk when she’s not seeking election. They feel elections are too important to rely on machines and also didn’t want to miss out on the social aspects of counting ballots as a team, she said.
“Litchfield is very much not a technology-oriented group,” Leibowitz told the Kennebec Journal (http://bit.ly/XTNPY1). “There’s the lack of confidence in the technology. We all remember the fiasco in Florida in the presidential election a few years ago. We just don’t want that here.”