IN’s LaPorte County Blames Vendor, “Human Error” After Erroneous Interim Results Reported

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Election officials in Laporte County, IN are blaming their vendor’s “human error” for interim election results that contained more votes than the eventual final tally. NWITimes has more:

“A procedural human error” is being blamed for the LaPorte County Election Board releasing an interim vote total Wednesday that was higher than the final totals released after all the votes were counted Thursday.

“In the election board’s desire to be transparent and tell what we knew at various stages (of the count), we asked the county (voting machine) vendor to run an interim tally on Wednesday night even though there were still precincts to be counted on Thursday,” election board President Andrew Voeltz said in a statement sent to the media Saturday.

It appears that the interim totals double-counted some votes, leading to an inflated tally – which the county defended as a by-product of a large number of mail ballots and an effort to be transparent:

“The tally run by Microvote had what Microvote’s’ president acknowledges was ‘higher vote totals than subsequent reports’ due to ‘a procedural human error’ by their technician. The prior night’s totals were doubled up from the prior night leading to the inaccurate totals,” Voeltz said.

After the discovery of the error, it was corrected and Voeltz said, ”We have great confidence in the accuracy and reliability of final totals released Thursday.”

LaPorte was one of the dozen or so counties whose count results were delayed because of the large number of absentee ballots.

“We took all the way to Thursday to get all the tallies done because we didn’t want to rush things on Tuesday with the 5,000-plus absentee ballot to be counted,” Voeltz said. “We were trying to be transparent and show progress at each stage, and it’s unfortunate the Wednesday night interim tallies caused such confusion.”

At least one local elected official isn’t satisfied and is calling for an investigation:

LaPorte County Commissioner Joe Haney, R-3rd District, called for an investigation into the voting issues.

“There seem to have been multiple failures from both the Election Board and Clerk’s Office in which they not only failed to anticipate the needs of this election cycle, but also evidence a complete lack of regard for the integrity of the process,” Haney said. “At this point, incompetence and negligence seem to be the best case explanation for these actions, and a full and open investigation is the best way to determine if malfeasance also played any part in how the process unfolded.”

With the huge increase in mail ballots this year, election offices are going to have to rethink their standard operating procedures; that could result in a greater role for private vendors in the process. As those changes are made, election officials will need to ensure that they still have eyes on the process so errors – which will reflect on the office, regardless of who made them – don’t occur. It’s a useful reminder as states and localities look ahead to the challenge of a nationwide general election this fall. Stay tuned …

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