Glitch Shuts Down Coto de Caza Voting Machines for Two Hours

Voters at the Coto de Caza fire station had to use paper ballots early today when glitches shut down all 12 voting machines for about two hours, poll workers said.

But overall, Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley said voting was proceeding smoothly throughout the county, or as smoothly as anyone can expect from 10,000 pieces of equipment set up at 1,210 poll sites.

As of midday, voting at the polls was down about 4.5 percent from the gubernatorial election four years ago, Kelley said, but he still anticipates a “fairly decent” 50 percent to 55 percent turnout when absentee and machine votes are tallied.

Sondra Ballinger said she has been voting at the Coto de Caza fire station for 14 years and never had a problem until she arrived shortly after 7 a.m. today.

None of the 12 voting machines was working.

“We had to use paper ballots,” she said, which made voting take longer than usual. But, she added, “I just want to make sure my vote gets counted.”

Poll workers said today was the first time all machines at the fire station were knocked out. They blamed a faulty main connection that only took a few minutes to fix once the repairman arrived. About 150 voters were affected before machine voting resumed around 9 a.m.

Later in the morning, three of the 12 machines experienced other problems that couldn’t be fixed, so the polling station was left with just nine. But during the day, no long lines formed and no one had to use a paper ballot.

Kelley said no polling place lost its machines permanently, and as of midday there were no major problems. He and election workers have been planning for the election since February.

“Voting’s no different than the rest of society,” he said. “You’re going to have issues and you respond to them.”