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Election results being finalized after technical glitches

The unofficial results were printed and handed out about midnight and emailed Wednesday morning. Election officials say they had hoped the numbers would take shape sooner, but they ran into technical issues along the way.

Posted: Nov 4, 2020 3:57 PM
Updated: Nov 4, 2020 9:31 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - Election results arrived later than expected Tuesday after some technical glitches.

The unofficial results were printed and handed out about midnight and emailed Wednesday morning. Election officials say they had hoped the numbers would take shape sooner, but they ran into technical issues along the way.

Election board staff had to reprogram the memory cards used on machines to scan mail-in ballots. That delayed the scanning process, which was finished up around 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Another roadblock was accessing the server with the program used to upload the results. The computer used to access the server was turned off and no one knew the password. IT staff were able to resolve the issue but it slowed things down by about an hour and a half.

Clerk Julie Roush says the computer is usually left on so a password isn't needed, which doesn't pose a security risk, she says, because the ballot-counting program also requires a password.

"We couldn't get into the computer to get into the program that we use, so there's always a password to the program, and not only that, the entire computer is locked up in a cage that has an R and a D key, so one party cannot get in there," she says.

Tippecanoe County reported close to 100 percent of votes cast by around 11 p.m. Tuesday. In the meantime, the results scrolled across big screens in the county building and the county's live stream.

Ballots here are counted by polling place rather than precincts, and there's not an intuitive way to keep track of the percentage of ballots counted. The scroll was also the only way to see the results in real-time.

Roush says the election board next year will upgrade this dated system, which could result in a clearer and more timely rundown of results.

"Everything that we have is very, very old," she says. "We've been piece-mealing, we've had to take parts from things to recreate a part that's working. This is all gone. This is the last time we're using any of this. We're getting all brand new stuff."

Roush says the election board will partner with MicroVote, an election services provider. The county's current provider is Governmental Business Service.

The official election results won't be certified until next week after provisional ballots are counted.

Officials on Wednesday also counted more than 600 additional ballots from additional vote cards discovered through an audit, as well as travel board votes and spoiled ballots, which are mail-in ballots that were unable to be scanned. The additional ballots weren't enough to change the outcome of some local races, including the tight West Lafayette school board race.

Julie Roush sent WLFI an update Wednesday evening stating the following:

We received clarification today from the state that ballots that arrived on time but were either missing a signature or their signature did not match their signature on record have until noon on November 13th to return their affidavit stating the ballot was indeed theirs - we have about 50 of those. Military and overseas voters also have until noon on the 13th for us to receive their ballots. There are also about 2 dozen ballots received yesterday that were Quarantined due to COVID that have not been counted yet, and there are 31 provisional ballots for the board to review.

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