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Voting Glitch Discovered

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A glitch was discovered in the Second Baptist Church polling location during Tuesday’s, November 8 General election.

Voters, whose residence is in State Senate District 3, discovered Mike Hodges was not on their ballot. The glitch was immediately brought to the attention of Supervisor of Elections and Registration Carlos Nelson.

Nelson visited the polling location and quickly surmised there was an anomaly concerning one of the “combos” used for that particular race. It was also confirmed the glitch was limited to this particular race.

Fortunately, Hodges was running unopposed. All other races in this particular “combo” were counted as they should have been.

A “combo” is a designation assigned to different combinations of districts. In Ware County, there are many districts and all combos start with the county commission districts (four).

Other districts then must be taken into consideration, such as the School Board (seven districts), City Commission (five districts), State Representatives (two, 174th and the 176th), and State Senators (two, 3rd and 8th).

Each possibility of combinations among all these districts must be accounted for. Ware County has 62 different “combos,” which depend on how many races are being held in a particular election.

“The combo system used to make sure every voter has a ballot that has all of their election choices based on their residence is very complicated,” said Danny Bartlett, Vice Chair of the Board of Elections and Registration. “On top of that, redistricting caused a shift in the composition of the four county districts.

“The problem has been identified and steps are underway to correct it. We offer our apologies to Senator-elect Mike Hodges and the voters of Senate District 3. We remain diligent in making sure our elections are fair and legal.”

In this case, five different combos from precincts (precincts are not polling locations; there can be multiple precincts voting at one polling location) 200A and 200B were assigned to Second Baptist Church, which is primarily a 4th District (of the County Commission) polling location.

The Board of Elections, in its attempt to have voters vote at locations they were used to after the County Commission revised its district lines based on the redistricting by the state, moved some voting districts.

In setting up the e-Net database, Nelson explained during the redistricting process some voters were moved from District 4 to District 2, but they would still vote at the same polling place, Second Baptist Church.

The combo, 99-400 from the Second Baptist Church polling location should have been changed to the 99-200A combo. It did not get changed and the poll pad database had 99-400 when a voter needed a 99-200A ballot.

The poll pad did not find it and “grabbed,” figuratively, a 121-400 combo ballot with Russ Goodman (S-8) on it instead of Mike Hodges (S-3).

“Human error caused the snafu and human error did not catch it during Logic and Accuracy (L&A) testing prior to the election,” said Clarence Billups, Chairman of the Board of Elections and Registration. “There was no nefarious intent (Hodges and Goodman were both running unopposed). In this time of questioning the credibility of free and fair elections, the Board of Elections and Registration regret that this error occurred and ensures the public that steps are being taken to eliminate the problem in the future.”

Visit the Ware County Board of Elections and Registration website page for more information.

The Registration and Elections Department is responsible for conducting elections in Ware County and registering voters who reside within Ware County. The Ware County Board of Registration and Elections has jurisdiction over the Department of Registration and Elections.

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