The interim county elections director and two independent monitors of the elections office believe they may have narrowed down where things went wrong during Tuesday’s Primary Election, which resulted in erroneous data being added to the Secretary of State’s election results. After the polls close, data is transferred electronically via modem from the ballot counting machines to the elections office. That data is then received and tabulated by an Election Systems & Software program, placed on a thumb drive, transferred from the thumb drive to a server, which then sends the data on to the state. “Somehow, when the information on the server went to the state elections system, that number got corrupted,” said Jim Vlahovich, interim director of the Cochise County Elections Office. … Elections office staff first noticed that something may be wrong on Tuesday night, when the print out of the results reported an abnormally high voter turnout of 62 percent. Then, this morning, calls to the elections office prompted further inspection, resulting in the discovery that the server used to transfer the voting data to the state had crashed.
Other voting irregularities were also uncovered, such as the voter turnout of Tombstone being higher than the number of registered voters. So far it is unclear if there is any pattern as to how the results were modified from their actual figures.
In order to ensure an accurate tabulation of the ballots, the memory cards of all 49 precinct voting machines are being sent via helicopter to the Graham County Election Office, which uses the same model of machine as Cochise County and reported no issues on election day.
Cochise County Administrator Mike Ortega, along with elections office staff members Juanita Murray and Martha Reynolds, are also traveling to Graham County, Vlahovich said. “This is not a people problem. It was not a problem with people getting the wrong ballots, this is a software problem,” said Pat Call of the Cochise County Board of Supervisors. “We are currently doing a forensic examination of the server.”