Elections officials in the nation’s capital say they’ve addressed computer glitches that led to major delays in counting votes during the April 1 primary, but critics say the process of identifying and fixing the problem was slow and insufficiently transparent. The vote totals will be closely watched in November, with the District of Columbia on track for its most competitive general election for mayor in 20 years. In April, it took nearly four hours after polls closed for results sufficient to call the winner to be made available. D.C. Councilmember Muriel Bowser defeated scandal-plagued Mayor Vincent Gray in the Democratic primary, making her the favorite to win the general election in the overwhelmingly Democratic city. According to the D.C. Board of Elections, a widespread network connectivity error led to the delays in counting votes. It’s since been repaired, the board said last month. That was different from the explanation the elections board offered on the chaotic primary night, when it blamed a handful of malfunctioning electronic machines.
The server problems prevented early vote totals from being posted soon after polls closed, and the delays cascaded from there, said Clifford Tatum, executive director of the elections board.
“We’ve made the repairs, and we feel confident that we will have a good, clean, accurate and fast election,” Tatum said. “We shouldn’t have any of those issues we had April 1.”
D.C. Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie said he’s also been told that the problems were addressed, but he’s disappointed that a report on the failures was not available in time for an oversight hearing he held last month. The report wasn’t completed until two weeks after the hearing.