A computer glitch slowed what had been a pretty good day for Jefferson County election officials Tuesday night, causing vote totals that were to have been sent to the Secretary of State's website and available to a crowd gathered at the county courthouse to be delayed.
A computer glitch slowed what had been a pretty good day for Jefferson County election officials Tuesday night, causing vote totals that were to have been sent to the Secretary of State’s website and available to a crowd gathered at the county courthouse to be delayed.
“We had computer issues and we had to work through those issues,” Election Commission Chairman Trey Ashcraft said. “It was not the vote totals that were at issue, it was how to get them tabulated.”
Ashcraft compared the problem to one many people have when they turn on their home computers and have the computers do “something they’ve never done before.
“Unfortunately, we can’t slap the computer and make it do right,” Ashcraft said. “We had to shut it down and call E.S. and S., (the company that made the software for the computer) and get some answers from them.”
At the courthouse, a small crowd including incumbent justices of the peace the Rev. H. O. Gray, Mandy Alford and Delton Wright, as well as some other candidates and their supporters waited on the returns to appear on a screen set up in the rotunda of the building.
In previous years, early and absentee vote totals had been available a short time after the polls closed, but this year, because of the computer glitch, they were not shown on the screen at the courthouse until almost 9 p.m., causing some people to grumble and others to walk out.
“No one is more frustrated than I am about it,” Ashcraft said. “We want to get the totals out as fast as we can, but even more important than that is to get them out accurately.
Among those in the crowd at the courthouse was District 16 State Rep. James Word, who was unopposed for what will be his third and final term in the Arkansas House.
“I’m so glad I didn’t have to go through this (the primary) election this year,” Word said, explaining that because of redistricting, his district, which formerly included just central Pine Bluff, now stretches into Lincoln County at Grady.
“They’ve got me spread out all over,” Word said.
Without statewide races on the ballot, voter turnout was described by election officials as light Tuesday, with Election Coordinator Will Fox saying Tuesday afternoon that some voting precincts had been “slow all day.”