A split between Williamson County Democrats and Republicans during primary voting has been behind slow election night returns in the past, but they weren’t at fault Tuesday. A Democratic poll worker forgot to take a memory card out of a voting machine in Florence, authorities said, delaying final results until about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday. Officials had already counted the rest of the votes from Democrats and Republicans by 10:15 p.m., said Rick Barron, the Williamson County election administrator. Because of differing opinions on voting security, Republicans and Democrats use separate voting machines in the primary, and that can slow down the counting process, Barron said. The different methods and some equipment glitches slowed down results in the 2010 primary, he said, and could delay results in the future.
Democrats use election machines that count the paper ballots at the precincts and then deliver a memory card with the results to county officials in Georgetown, Barron said. Republicans have voters deposit their paper ballots into a sealed box, which is taken to Georgetown and then sorted through a counting machine, Barron said.
Bill Fairbrother, chairman for the Williamson County Republicans, said the Democratic method is not secure enough. Jose Orta, club secretary for the Willamson County Democrats, said he didn’t agree with Fairbrother. “It’s an easy excuse to say it’s a security issue when it isn’t,” he said.