Elkhart County election officials are dealing with a few problems from Tuesday’s primary election, the first time they have used vote centers. Instead of staffing and equipping 117 precincts with voting machines, 25 vote centers were set up countywide, and voters were able to cast ballots at any one of those locations. County election officials are hoping to learn from a mistake that delayed the final vote count on Tuesday. Election board members and staff reviewed the results. It was a start up process with us,” said County Election Board Chairman Wayne Kramer. “We anticipated that there would be some bumps along the way, and there were a few. None of them affected actually the process.” One did develop, though, at North Side Gym. While polls were set to close at 6 p.m., long lines continued past then. The Election Board saw that coming and delivered two additional voting machines to add to the 10 already there. “As the law permits us to do, (the machines) were ushered inside the shoot, which is the 50 foot area inside the polling place so that (voters) would be permitted to vote, and that took additional time,” Kramer said.
Because of the crowd, the last vote cast at North Side was around 7:30. 12 memory cards from those machines then needed to be counted. “The staff was pretty tired, I am sure, by the end of the day, and as it worked out, one memory card was left in machine number two, and we had to go over and retrieve it,” Kramer described.
The problem was by that time, North Side Gym was locked, and they had to find a custodian to open the building to get the card, which wasn’t brought back for tabulation until around 10:45. As a result, the outcome of the Concord schools referendum was delayed until late in the night.
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