The votes still were being counted late Tuesday at Hamilton County’s board of elections when officials there began to talk about next year. It was not a pleasant conversation. The delays, mistakes and technological glitches that plagued Tuesday’s vote caused headaches for everyone involved in the process. But election officials know that’s nothing compared to the epic migraine they’d get if those errors are repeated next fall, during a presidential election that could hinge on Ohio and Hamilton County. If an election featuring a few statewide issues and local tax levies could bring so much pain, it wasn’t hard for the people in charge of elections here to imagine what would happen if the stakes were higher. Armies of lawyers and political operatives would roll into town. Wolf Blitzer might go live from Fountain Square. It might not be Florida’s hanging chads, but it wouldn’t be pretty. “We’re in a crucial state in a presidential election year and we’ve got to get it right,” said Alex Triantafilou, a board of elections member and the chairman of the county GOP. “There’s no sugarcoating it,” he said of Tuesday’s vote. “Last night was a disaster, and we need to fix it.”
The postmortems began in earnest Wednesday morning. Most focused on the new electronic voter sign-in system that caused confusion at some polling places, and on the training poll workers received before using the new equipment.
Secretary of State Jon Husted demanded an explanation of what went wrong. Hamilton County commissioners talked about setting up an independent, bipartisan group to review the election. State lawmakers called for public hearings on the matter. And the board of elections launched its own investigation into the performance of its poll workers and equipment.
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