A software glitch in 140 electronic voting machines prompted San Mateo County elections officials to dole out paper ballots while technicians scrambled to fix the error Tuesday morning. The problem was coding, said Jim Irizarry, assistant chief elections officer. The agency uses the Hart InterCivic “eSlate” machine, he said. Those machines are connected to a central system, and without the proper coding, the voting machines could not communicate to the central system. The glitch “should not have occurred,” Irizarry said. “When you’re programming the units, you should code them properly,” he said. “I believe we probably did not code those machines as well as we should have.”
The coding error impacted about 10 percent of the county’s electronic machines, he said. San Mateo is one of two counties in the state, along with Orange County, that uses an electronic system. Irizarry said that in the roughly 10 years that San Mateo County has used the electronic voting machines, the system “has worked admirably over the years.”
“It’s a very secure, extremely fast, and private system,” he said. “The returns are able to be processed very quickly.”
Roving technicians were able to repair the issues within roughly an hour and a half, Irizarry said, and no one was unable to vote because of the issue. Instead, poll workers passed out paper ballots.