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.”