Two ballot-tabulating machines malfunctioned Tuesday during early voting at the Doña Ana County Government Center, ruffling feathers among voters and election officials. However, county election officials assured the problem — which is still under review — won’t harm the integrity of the election. That’s because paper ballots counted by the affected machines can be fed into different, functional machines, they said. Doña Ana County elections supervisor Scott Krahling said election workers at the site noticed Tuesday morning that ballots weren’t being accepted by the machines as readily as in past days of early voting. Voters often would insert a valid ballot, only for the machines to reject it.
Then, one voter whose ballot was rejected more than once noticed that a counting device on the machine he was using increased by one each time he attempted to insert the paper ballot. In the case of a rejected ballot, the machine’s tally isn’t supposed to increase. “He said every time he stuck it in the machine, the counter went up one,” Krahling said.
That raised red flags, Krahling said. Election workers then crosschecked the number of ballots that had been given to voters — something tracked when a person signs in to vote — to the numbers on the ballot-tabulating machines, he said. The numbers on two ballot-reading machines didn’t add up, Krahling said.