Black Hawk County Auditor addresses problems at the polls
WATERLOO (KWWL) -
Black Hawk County Auditor Grant Veeder said, this is certainly not one of his most successful election days. He's happy they were able to get results out before midnight, especially considering the issues they had. Long lines, machine problems, and even confusion over where to vote added up to a difficult day at the Black Hawk County Courthouse.
Things were pretty calm Wednesday in the Auditor's Office. It was a stark contrast to what was happening at polling locations across the county on Election Day.
Veeder said, after a record early voter turnout, he expected Election Day to run smoothly.
"We thought, well, this might be an indication that there will be lower turnout at the polls. Maybe this will alleviate some of the problems at the polls," said Veeder.
There were fewer day-of voters -- the problem was, many still needed to register to vote.
"We'll try to do things in the future like, separate people that are registered from people that aren't registered to try to make things move faster. But that's probably going to mean that we'll need more staff, more equipment, and in some cases, more space in the polling places," said Veeder.
Meanwhile, an issue came up while counting absentee ballots in Waterloo. One of the machines failed to record 5,000 votes on a computer chip.
"We did have the results on a tape that was run before they took the card out of the machine over at City Hall. So what we had to do was create a spreadsheet that had all the results and then add in the results from that machine," said Veeder.
Because of these issues, counting the votes took longer than expected. But Veeder believes the unofficial totals are accurate -- and more importantly, is thankful people waited out the line, and the results.
"We apologize to the people who had to wait a long time. We thank them for their patience," said Veeder.
There are still about 2,000 absentee ballots out in the county. Veeder believes only a few hundred, or even just a few dozen, will be returned. At least four hundred people decided to vote the polls instead.
Veeder said, many people were also upset after waiting in line for an hour or more, and then finding out they were in the wrong location. he explained, this was one area in which he believes the office was quite proactive. Reminders went out to all registered voters in the spring with their current polling location. The information was also readily available on the county and state websites.
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