The ballots are being recounted, but it’s not for the presidential election. This time it’s for Mobile County’s pay as you go measure. It was the last measure on the ballot last Tuesday. And according to Election Systems and Software, the company that runs the ballot machines, a wrong test pattern was used to program the machines. That resulted in 99.7 percent of votes favoring the measure.
While many voters called in with concerns and filed complaints, it took a few days to figure out exactly what happened. The company has since taken accountability.
“We obviously made a mistake originally for election day, we regret that. We’ve gone back in we’ve corrected the error there in the personal program, we’ve marked ballots we’ve double checked, we’ve triple checked, we’ve run test we’re confident today is 100 percent accurate,” said Mark Kelley with Election Systems and Software.
Judge Don Davis who oversees Mobile County elections says at first it seemed odd, but he had no proof something had gone wrong.
“We reported it to E S & S and asked to them to look at it. And we didn’t get anything back from them until Friday afternoon,” said Davis.
But how will voters be assured that this time the results are accurate?
“We have retested the tabulation machines that you see behind me, to correctly interpret the election definition and the ballots that were printed on election day. The ballots on election day were correct, the election definition (pattern) on election day was not correct. We have corrected that election definition which is the program the machines use to tabulate. Tested it last night, pre-marked some ballots ran a test deck as we call it. We have confirmed the probate office has double checked as well we’re counting correctly the ballots that we are using today,” said Kelley.
Both the ballot counting machine company as well as Judge Davis spent much of the Monday explaining to reporters in detail, how the lengthening of options on the last measure led to the error. They emphasize that the only measure that was affected was the “pay as you go” measure for the County’s construction program.
Mark Kelly could not comment further on the staffers who were responsible for failing to catch the error, but he says the company is working to ensure that results maintain their accuracy in the future. The final result is expected to finish on Thursday. News 5 will be there to update you with the results.