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Ohio: Cuyahoga's Electronic System Falters Even in Low-key Poll PDF  | Print |  Email
By Joe Guillen, Cleveland Plain Dealer   
November 07, 2007

Late-night computer glitches had Cuyahoga County wobbling to the end of Tuesday's election. The vote was the kind of low-turnout, ballot-lite poll perfect to test Cuyahoga's electronic system -- one that's guaranteed to be among the most-watched during next year's presidential election.


But a 20-minute shutdown slowed counting around 9:30 p.m. Then a half-hour crash around 10:40 p.m. stalled tabulations again. At that point, the board changed its procedures and backed up its vote totals every 45 minutes. By 11:30 p.m., about 43 percent of precincts were counted.


Cuyahoga County Elections Director Jane Platten said she didn't know why earlier simulations of the machines hadn't detected the glitch, which was the same for each shutdown. The simulations are no substitute for the real thing, she said.


Even after the first shutdown, Platten said the county's performance was a good sign for the 2008 elections. "If today was next year, I'd be very happy," she said before the second crash. "Because the issues that were presented to us today we were able to handle quickly, and they were resolvable in an efficient manner."


Turnout was less than 15 percent of actual voters, as only a smattering of candidates and issues were on most local ballots. While things started smoothly at most polls, it was hard to judge how Cuyahoga managed the day.


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