New Machines Don’t Communicate With Each Other and Voting Tallies Are Slow

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If you’re in one of the 52 counties, including Bay County, using both optical scan and touch-screen voting equipment, don’t hold your breath for election results Tuesday.

Supposedly state-of-the-art voting technology is actually making final results take a little longer to tabulate.

Ion Sancho, Leon County’s Supervisor of Elections, has never been afraid to call state elections officials to task if he thinks voters are getting short-changed by the system.

“There’s no way for this technology to communicate with this technology.”

Leon County’s supervisor is ticked off this time because new voting equipment for people with disabilities wasn’t required by the state to sync up with the optical scan equipment used in much of Florida. That means two sets of numbers to count in every precinct using both systems.

So even in this age of instant messaging, Sancho says anxious voters will have to wait longer than in past elections to find out who won.

“We need to go back to the drawing board and really develop a process which serves the citizens.”

The problem of these two technologies not communicating with each other didn’t come to light until the primary, when some counties took as long as two days to tally final results.

But state elections officials aren’t especially concerned. After all, says spokesman Sterling Ivey, each county legally has five days to count votes.

“We’re not alarmed. We know people want results immediately, but we’d rather our supervisors take time to process the results and then report an accurate number as opposed to an expedient number.”

It could be a painful wait for candidates and voters in what will likely be several close races.