Voting machines were unavailable for a time on Election Day
November 5, 2010
The closest race in Summit County on Election Day was in the campaign for Summit County treasurer. Just more than 200 votes separated the two candidates.
Now treasurer candidate Henry Glasheen, a Park City Republican, says he is considering requesting a recount partly due to voting irregularities. On Tuesday, Glasheen had lost.
Most voters in Summit County used electronic balloting machines. But about 16 voters in Park City were forced to fill out paper provisional ballots when election machines at the Marsac Building were not available Tuesday morning. Voters could not access the machines due to a computer glitch that happened at about 7 a.m.
Chief Deputy Summit County Clerk Ryan Cowley said the error was discovered quickly and voters again could access the machines within about 20 minutes.
The computer program that certifies machine access cards for voters was not responding Tuesday morning, Cowley said.
"Rather than keep people in line for 20 minutes, they said if they wanted to vote they could use a provisional ballot," he said. "If they were registered to vote that is not going to be an issue."
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As long as those who voted provisionally at Marsac were properly registered, Cowley said he expects the 16 paper ballots to count.
"We haven’t qualified or disqualified any ballots," Cowley said in a telephone interview Thursday.
In all, about 300 ballots have still not been counted. There are outstanding provisional ballots and absentees, meaning the results of the treasurer race could change.
But that is unlikely, said Summit County Clerk Kent Jones, a Democrat.
The official election results won’t be known until votes are canvassed Nov. 15. While acting as the Board of Canvass, the Summit County Council will inspect the questionable ballots.
Most often ballots are rejected when the person who voted was not registered, Cowley explained.
"State law governs what is legal to count and what is not," Cowley said.
Jones and several members of the Summit County Council supported Glasheen’s opponent in the testy treasurer campaign. Glasheen faced Park City Democrat Corrie Kirklen who received fewer than 51 percent of the votes to best Glasheen.
But Cowley insisted that the canvassing process will be fair. The clerk will make recommendations about challenged ballots to the County Council, which has the final say about which votes qualify.
"There are enough checks and balances," Cowley said. "There is a point in time during this whole process (when) not everybody can be unfair to you If that stuff can be proven, then I’m sure there is legal action that can be taken."
There are 42 voting precincts in Summit County and state law requires the difference in votes in the treasurer race to be within 42 for a candidate to request a recount, Cowley said.
Summit County Councilwoman Claudia McMullin, a Democrat, said politics will not influence the final outcome.
"Every election you have provisional ballots for one reason or another. I can’t fathom how political affiliation could enter this process. You open an envelope, you read that ballot and you put it in a pile," McMullin said Friday. "Whatever decision I come up with on that will not be politically motivated Any suggestion about whether or not the treasurer position is going to get swayed by politics in opening envelopes and reviewing a piece of paper is absurd."