Top D.C. election officials said Thursday they have fixed problems with computer switches and servers that caused a four-hour delay in reporting results of the city’s April 1 primary. But in sometimes contentious testimony before a D.C. Council committee , the city’s elections chief said he cannot ensure a smooth night on Nov. 4. “While we have resolved the technical issues . . . I cannot guarantee” there won’t be “more glitches,” said Clifford D. Tatum, executive director of the D.C. Board of Elections. Tatum also refused to make any promises about what time the vote tallying would be finished after the close of polls in the city’s general election. “We will plan for every reasonable contingency,” Tatum said, “but we cannot make any guarantees to when the election night process will be complete.” Tatum said that on Nov. 4 the board would have 45 “roving technicians” to deal with any issues that arise at polling places.
Despite record-low turnout on April 1, a vote-counting delay made it impossible to call the mayor’s race and other key contests until after 10 p.m., nearly four hours after polls closed.
At the heart of the delay, officials said then, were five electronic voting machines from which results were not properly extracted. Officials said they had to fan out across the city to check the machines and retrieve accurate counts.
A month later, however, election officials offered a new explanation: The issue was not five mishandled electronic voting machines, but a broad computer network failure. The network failure was a mystery to elections officials even as it unfolded, Tatum said at the time.