Computers delayed election postings

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A delay in the posting of online election results on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning wasn't the fault of the counting machines, the Kootenai County chief deputy clerk said on Thursday.

The blame falls purely on computer issues, Pat Raffee said, which took several hours to address.

"It was a memorable evening," a tired-sounding Raffee said.

Elections management realized just after 1:30 a.m. Wednesday that ballot count updates weren't uploading correctly onto the department website, Raffee said.

It may have been a software error, or just that staff wasn't entering the data correctly, she said.

"Additional precincts were added, but the overall totals went down," Raffee said.

A representative of the election equipment company, Election Systems and Software, tried for hours to solve the issue, she said.

A notice of technical difficulties was posted at 4:30 a.m. on the Elections website, stating that results couldn't be posted for the time being. Staff also notified the media and Idaho Secretary of State's Office.

A solution was tested accurately by 6:30 a.m., according to a press release from the Clerk's Office.

"By that time, the ballot counting machines had been running all night, so we had almost all the results anyway," Raffee said, adding that the final unofficial results from all 73 districts were posted just before 7 a.m.

Individual precinct results and write-in candidate breakdowns still were not posted by early Thursday afternoon.

The delay on that was due to "human fatigue," Raffee said.

"We had been working for 26 straight hours," she said of staff taking a sojourn after the overall results were posted. "We really needed some rest, before we could continue to think clearly."

An additional 109 absentee votes were also uploaded on Wednesday. The ballots had been stained or torn, and needed to be manually duplicated to run through the optical scan ballot counting machines. These ballots were run last, after the precinct ballots.

The election results are still unofficial, until the canvass of the votes is presented to the county commissioners at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 16, in the commissioners' boardroom of the administration building at 451 Government Way in Coeur d'Alene.

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