Second Congressional Results: Moisture caused Clermont County ballots to be delayed

Covering the results for Reuters in the Hackett/Schmidt fight for Ohio’s Second Congressional District Tuesday evening at the Hamilton County Board of Elections turned out to be a later night than most expected. Why? Clermont County couldn’t count their votes.

A Cincinnati Enquirer story neglected to mention why the ballots were late, but quoted Hamilton County Democratic Party chairman Tim Burke as saying he wasn’t sure what the hell happened.

An unused portion of the story I filed for Reuters neglected to mention an explantion put forth by Hamilton County Board of Elections executive director John Williams. Apparently humidity in the air allowed moisture to seep into the Clermont ballots thus making them uncountable until they returned to the ambient room temperature where the machines were located at the Clermont County BOE. Clermont uses an optical-scan method for collecting and tallying votes.

Williams went on to say that he felt that eventually all counties would be required to use this system – and he isn’t happy about it for reasons like Tuesday’s delay. He advocates continued use of the punch-card method and buying an additional device than can electronically check the punch cards for over-voting and hanging chads.

“We’ve used the current system for 30 years,” Williams said. “I bet in another ten years we’ll go back to something like the punch cards.”

Author: Joe Wessels

Joe Wessels is a freelance journalist and photographer. Wessels covers local news events for Thomson Reuters news service and features for About.com's Cincinnati Guide site, plus is the executive director of hyperlocal news site, iRhine.com. He wrote for The Cincinnati Post, covering Cincinnati City Hall and Hamilton County government and wrote a weekly political column, which continued weekly at Cincinnati CityBeat. Previously, he was a reporter for the Cincinnati Business Courier and writes or has written for several publications in Cincinnati and around the country including The Cincinnati Enquirer, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Cincinnati Magazine, Cincy Magazine and the Sacramento News & Review. He is a native of Colerain Township, one of Cincinnati's western suburbs, and now lives in Over-the-Rhine near downtown Cincinnati. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and a journalism writing certificate from the University of Cincinnati. He also graduated from Colerain High School, is an avid photographer, news junkie and was once a roller rink disc jockey, and sometimes rides a scooter around town.

3 thoughts on “Second Congressional Results: Moisture caused Clermont County ballots to be delayed”

  1. After Florida 2000, Ohio 2004, and everything that’s come light since then about the Rovian death grip on power, it doesn’t seem too tinfoilish to wonder whether the GOP’s approach to close elections in Ohio isn’t the same as the party’s approach to close votes on the House floor — in which the count is held open until the leadership gets the result it wanted.

    http://billmon.org/archives/002073.html

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