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Snafu slowed vote county
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Huddling outside the Liberty County Voter Registration Office to watch the results come in on election night is a tradition for many residents and candidates awaiting their political fate.
But if residents and politicos standing outside the office Tuesday night were waiting for the final preliminary election results, they would have stood there until Thursday afternoon.
Two days after voting ended in the county, an estimated 800 votes cast during advanced voting week remained unaccounted for due to “a technical problem that occurred in retrieving the early votes,” according to Hinesville Assistant City Manager Kenneth Howard.
“They had some technical mishaps so far as the system is concerned,” Howard said. “There was a hired technician that had some difficulties in retrieving the votes and as a result they had to work those bugs out.”
Those bugs were worked out Thursday morning when the Secretary of State’s office stepped in and sent technicians to recover the ballots from the Diebold manufactured voting machines.
“Secretary of State Karen Handel asked technical experts from the Kennesaw State University Center for Elections Systems to consult with election officials in Hinesville and Liberty County to rectify technical problems caused by human error,” Matt Carrothers, director of Media Relations for the Secretary of State’s office, said.
He noted the situation was not currently being investigated because there were no “missing votes,” despite allegations, and it was simply “operator error.”
State Rep. Al Williams (D-Midway) agreed the situation was an “innocent mistake,” but said he understood residents’ frustration over how the reporting of the results has played out.
Adding the two county questions on homestead exemptions to the ballot during an election year normally reserved for municipal elections only also had a role in creating some of the problems, he said.
But with the votes now in and accounted for, Williams said he hopes residents will move on and prepare for the Hinesville mayoral and two city council seat runoff races in December.
“It’s time to calm down. We got a brand new election coming,” he said. “Let’s get back into the process and pick a mayor for Hinesville.”
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