When a voting machine in the town of Rehoboth mysteriously stopped working on Election Day, officials found a web of mischief spun not by a human, but by a saboteur with eight legs. During the morning rush Tuesday, one of the town’s machines malfunctioned and failed to recognize ballots because a spider web had blocked a sensor, said Town Clerk Kathleen Conti. “It was something as simple as that,” she said. “We were cursing that spider. He’s still at large and we’re still looking for him.”
Conti said everything went smoothly till 9:30 a.m. Then the spider struck. Conti called a technician, but he was unable to get to the voting site until 3:30 p.m., leaving election staff with no choice but to count 867 votes by hand, said Conti, who has been town clerk for the past decade.
The machine worked properly after the technician removed the web, she said.
“Our elections usually run very smoothly,” Conti said. “We did have maintenance on our equipment about a month before the election.”
Conti also completed pre-election testing on the machines on Oct. 30, she said.
“Everything worked fine,” Conti said. “I guess they’re pretty quick when they spin those webs.”
The machines are about 14 years old and Conti has been pushing for new voting equipment for the last six years, she said.