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Election results delayed

Software bug slows down official count

A software bug in the ballot counting machines held up the official results of the 2019 general election for Lawrence County on Tuesday night.

Official results were not available at press time.

Around 9:30 p.m., Randy Lambert, a member of the Lawrence County Board of Elections, told the crowd assembled in the lobby of the courthouse that there was a software bug affecting the new computer system and that there were at least three other counties in Ohio facing the same issue.

“The computer will not accept them at this point without saying it is an error,” Lambert said.

He added they were on the phone with the home office in Omaha, Nebraska and their IT people trying to figure out what the issue was.

He said that before the election, they tested the systems and it worked.

“There is something that is making it not read it,” he said.

As of 10:15 p.m., the problem was still not fixed.

Lambert said they had paper backups and they would run those to get the official results but that it would take a couple of hours to run them manually.

“That is the reason we have paper ballots and backups,” he said. “They are sealed, we have high-speed machines that will run them quickly. We anticipate that it will take two hours. Once we get the results, it won’t be an issue because we have the paper ballots.”

He said the ballots were still under lock and key and wouldn’t be opened until they did the count. Four members of the board of elections from both parties would be there when the ballots were opened.

Once the board does get an all clear that the computer issue was fixed, they would run a couple of precincts both electronically and manually to make sure the results matched and were accurate.

“We will get a good accurate election,” Lambert said. “This is something that will probably never happen again.”