Ballot Machine 'Jam' Triggers Recount For Oak/St. Mary Township Polling Site

Mills County Election Assistant Katie Dodge (left) and Mills County Auditor Carol Robertson oversee the recount of Oak/St. Mary Township precinct ballots Friday morning at the county courthouse. Election worker Sue Collins runs ballots through the tabulating machine.

A traditional paper ballot on the left and a ballot generated by the Freedom Vote Tablet on the right.

Election workers from the Oak/St. Mary Township polling site conduct the recount Friday morning, June 10, at the Mills County Courthouse.

A minor issue with a vote tabulating machine triggered an administrative recount of primary election ballots cast last Tuesday at one Mills County polling location.

Mills County Auditor Carol Robertson said the tabulating machine being utilized at the Oak/St. Mary Township polling location “jammed” three times while individual ballots were being processed. Election workers at the polling site documented and reported the issue.

“The equipment jammed in Oak Township, throwing the actual count off by three votes,” Robertson said. “We want to make it right because we want it to be accurate when we go into canvas (the election results).”

The jammed ballots were actually counted by the tabulating machine twice, increasing the final election results in Oak/St. Mary Township by three ballots The final tabulation on Election Day showed 306 ballots being cast at the site, three higher than the actual count of 303 - the number verified by the recount.

The recount took place Friday morning at the Mills County Courthouse with Robertson, Election Assistant Katie Dodge and poll workers from Oak/St. Mary Township taking part in the process. Mills County Supervisor Richard Crouch and his challenger in the primary election, Sandi Winton, were also present.

Dodge said the three ballots that jammed were from a Freedom Vote Tablet (FVT), available at polling sites for persons with disabilities and as an optional means of a casting a ballot. The FVT  is a “touch screen” tablet-style voting machine  with headphones and  an ADA-compliant keyboard available for persons with vision or hearing disabilities. A paper ballot, which has the appearance of a cash register receipt, is generated by the FVT after a person has completed the voting process.

The FVT was used at the Oak/St. Mary polling site when the location began running low on paper ballots, Dodge said.

Robertson said Oak/St. Mary was the only Mills County polling site to experience issues with ballots jamming but some other counties in the state had similar issues.


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