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WASHINGTON COUNTY – Personnel at the Washington County Clerk’s Office confirmed to St. George News around 8 a.m. that at least some of the electronic voting machines throughout the county were not working. As accounts came in from would-be voters, it became apparent that paper balloting was the voting method in many places, with some precincts running short on balloting supplies. At approximately, 2:30 p.m. it was reported that all Washington County voting locations should be back up and running.
The memory chips for the electronic voting machines were not programmed properly, a problem Washington County Clerk Kim Hafen confirmed around 9:50 a.m. The county had been delivering new memory cards to machines, and at approximately 1:30 p.m, Hafen said he had delivered the last cards personally to the Toquerville and LaVerkin area.
Hafen explained the memory card issue:
“The memory cards, yeah. They kind of load the information onto the machines,” Hafen said. “So it tells it that there is 104 precincts so one person gets their card by telling information to the poll worker they get a card that puts them in the right place. Some of those machines didn’t have the information on them.
“We have vote centers so they can vote wherever they want to go,” Hafen said, adding that there had been no issues with locations running out of ballots.
St. George News: Have there been any issues with running out of ballots?
St. George News: We had some people trying to tell us that voters are being turned away.
Hafen: We are not turning anybody away.
St. George News: Anything else you want to add?
Hafen: We’re just trying to get those up and running as quickly as possible. We are delivering a location at a time as we get the cards reprogrammed. We are just working on it.
But some places were running out of ballots. Santa Clara ran out of envelopes early and was experiencing a shortage during the 8 o’clock hour. Hurricane Community Center was out of paper ballots by 9:40 a.m. and a poll center at the Washington City building at 1305 E. Washington Dam Rd. in Washington closed by about 10 a.m.
At 9:40 a.m. St. George Mayor Jon Pike posted on his personal Facebook page:
“It’s apparently a memory chip problem, and they are being reprogrammed and reinstalled. Some are up and running now. It will take some time to get all locations working, and they may not get all machines at all locations fixed at the same time. Thanks for your patience. Paper ballots are obviously being utilized in the meantime.”
Alternate voting locations
Voters may go to polling locations other than their usual precincts so long as the location has electronic machines functioning.
When polling machines are running properly, voters may vote at any polling location, Santa Clara precinct manager and poll worker Susanne Kuhlman said. But because machines are down poll workers can only accept voters from within their precinct.
At the 9 o’clock hour, poll workers at the Park Service Building in St. George and attendants in Santa Clara were checking with voters in line to be sure they were at the proper polling location as some voters moved from one polling location to try another, thinking the malfunction was only a glitch at their location. Voters were being told they could not vote at alternate locations.
“You also can not vote at any location. It must be the one in YOUR district because they only have the paper ballots for their district,” Danielle Bertoch Mayoh wrote St. George News. “Found that out after waiting in line at the wrong location for 45 min.”
Washington County Administration Building
Voting machines at the Washington County Administration, 197 E Tabernacle St., St. George, have been operating normally all morning, with a line of about 15-20 people at 9 a.m. By 10:50 a.m. the line at the county building was out the door and machines continued to function.
At 10:50 a.m. voters are lined up out the door of the Washington County Administration Building where voting machines are working.
As of 9 a.m., paper ballots were the voting method in Hurricane, as machines were not functioning.
At about 9:40 a.m. Hurricane City Community Center, 63 S. 100 West, Hurricane, is out of ballots and turning voters away.
At approximately 2:30 p.m., voters confirmed that the machines were back up and running, and the line was short and running smoothly.
Long lines at the polls at Southern Utah Veterans Home in Ivins indicate many eager voters there at 11:11 a.m. Voting machines are still not functioning there but employees are handing out cookies and punch to people standing in line.
Jaylie Feller was almost in the building and said she had been waiting about 45 minutes but it was still worth it.
“Because everybody needs to get out here and vote,” Feller said.
At approximately 1 p.m., Julie Kuhns, precinct manager at the Southern Utah Veterans Home location said she had been instructed to direct all questions to Hafen. Electronic voting machines were operating at that time.
In LaVerkin, by 8:40 a.m., poll workers announced voting would be by paper ballot.
At approximately 1:30 p.m., it was reported that memory cards had been delivered to LaVerkin and machines should be up and running.
In Santa Clara, Zachary Kauffman was told they would do paper balloting as well.
“… still only have half left tho is what i was told,” Kaufmann wrote in a message to St. George News. “Asked us to com back if we could. No way in hell im leaving.”
Other voters in Santa Clara around 8:50 a.m. told St. George News that poll workers have run out of envelopes and have nothing to confirm that you voted paper.
At 11:20 a.m. lines were still long in Santa Clara with voters casting paper ballots. Machines remained inoperable.
At 11:31, machines in Santa Clara were reported to be working.
During the 8 o’clock hour poll workers at the Park Service building in St. George told St. George News the voting system is down in the whole county; although that was not the case as the morning wore on.
Paper ballots and huge lines are to be expected.
At 9:15 a.m. Eric P. Yunker wrote St. George News that the electronic voting machines had just become operable at the Dixie Center St. George.
Voters were voting at George Washington Academy, 2277 S. 3000 East in St. George. At 9:55 a.m. Daniel Drown wrote St. George News that it took him one hour to vote there. “Not too bad at all,” Drown said. “Election Volunteers were organized and should be commended.”
Paul Jensen messaged St. George News at 8 a.m. that the electronic voting machines were down. He was the first in line at the polls, he said, and his first clue was when the the poll workers could not get the monitors to turn on.
“I voted at Washington library with a paper ballot. Not sure if the people there know what they are doing,” Jensen wrote. “There’s only one booth. It’s going to be a long day for all those people standing in line.”
At 9:30 a.m. electronic voting machines are working fine in the Washington City Offices, 111 N. 100 East, Washington, voter George Scott III told St. George News. Lines are running about 30 minutes to voting.
By about 10 a.m. the poll center in Washington City building on Washington Dam Road had closed.
Voters were moving through the Washington City Offices at 111 N. 100 East by 10:30 a.m. Voter Bruce Alldredge said, “I voted at the wash city office 9 machines, 30 minutes.”
Note: A form of state-recognized identification is required to be able to vote. This can typically be a driver’s license or a state-issued ID. A list of other forms of ID and documentation acceptable at the polls can be found here.
Mail-in only areas
Voters who received mail-in ballots who did not get their ballot postmarked yesterday can still vote but not by mail. Drop off mail-in ballots by 8 p.m. today at the Washington County Clerk’s office, any polling location or available drop box location.
Of Utah’s 29 counties, 21 have shifted exclusively to mail-in ballots, with Iron County joining that number this year.
Some of Washington County’s smaller communities and unincorporated areas, including all or parts of Central, County Cliff Dweller, Brookside, Dammeron Valley, Diamond Valley, Dixie Deer, Gunlock, Kolob, Leeds, New Harmony, Rockville, Sky Ranch, Virgin, Winchester Hills, Zion National Park and other county areas will be voting by mail exclusively.
St. George News Editor-in-Chief Joyce Kuzmanic contributed to this report. St. George News reporters and staff Kimberly Scott reported from Washington, Mori Kessler from St. George, Hollie Reina from Santa Clara and Ivins, Brett Barrett from St. George, Ron Chaffin from Hurricane and LaVerkin.
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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.