Steuben County election commissioners said the first real trial of new voting machines in the county went well Tuesday, although a number of tallies now listed on the county Web site are incorrect.
“That’s why we call them unofficial results,” Republican Elections Commissioner Veronica Olin said Wednesday.
Olin said some results posted on the election board’s Web site are wrong, probably due to some sort of human error.
“People make mistakes,” she said. “You can’t help that. This is a learning process.”
Steuben’s elections results will remain unchanged until the tallies become official within the next couple of weeks. By law, the board’s next step is testing machines selected at random, Olin said.
All ballots then will be recanvassed beginning Nov. 12, after the deadline for absentee and overseas military ballots has passed.
Olin and Democratic Elections Commissioner Gilbert Sweet said the office was kept busy Election Day answering questions from poll workers, and going to various sites to deal with minor problems.
The new machines are in place due to the 2002 federal Help America Vote Act, which is supposed to ensure tamper-proof elections.
Other problems Tuesday included machine breakdowns in the city of Corning’s 1st Ward and in the town of Hartsville, the commissioners said.
Voters there were asked to fill out the paper ballots, which were deposited in an emergency ballot slot on the machine. The emergency ballots will be counted during the recanvassing, elections officials said.
The elections board also fielded results from all districts in roughly the same period, and was hampered because only one data entry point was available Tuesday night, officials said.
Another problem the board faced was a lack of poll workers at some sites, caused in part, after a number of workers called Monday to say they wouldn’t be available Tuesday.
The result was a scramble to locate and train more elections inspectors, the commissioners said.
Those problems, and others, will be reported to the state for correction and used to improve training next year, according to Sweet.
Steuben is one of the few counties in the state to fully implement the federal voting guidelines this year. In Chemung County, lever-style machines were used, with new machines available for handicapped voters.
Steuben’s decision to use the new machines this year for all voters was the right one, Olin said.
“This year, we just had local elections,” she said. “Next year there’s the state elections and the gubernatorial. We absolutely did the right thing starting this year.”
Olin said the problems actually showed the new system works, because effective back-ups were in place to allow people to vote and prevent a total breakdown.
“The (final) vote will be fair and accurate,” Sweet said. “And the paper ballots make it bullet proof.”