UPDATED: Chester County has Election Night hiccups

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By Brian Garner

UPDATED: According to the latest information from the Chester County Election Commission on Wednesday, the actual number of votes that had to be retrieved from the voting machine from the Fort Lawn precinct was not 10 but 44. According to Election Commission Chair Bill Marion, the percentages on the Chester County Council District 2 seat did not change, so a runoff between Mike Vaughn and Chris Melvin is still required. None of the results reported as of Tuesday night have changed, Marion said. The results were certified at 11 a.m. on Thursday. There were no protests or challenges, Marion said.

A runoff for the County Council District 2 seat is planned for Tuesday, June 26th.

10 votes are locked into a voting machine from the Fort Lawn precinct and won’t be retrieved from that machine until sometime on Wednesday.

That was just one of the hiccups that the Chester County Office of Registration and Elections experienced on Election Day Tuesday, but said Director of Registration and Elections Terry Graham, that’s all they were – hiccups.

“We had a minor issue at Fort Lawn where we had a machine went down (the battery that powers the machine ran out of power) and the company that does maintenance on our machines had to come down and retrieve those votes off of that machine. That was 10 votes. We had a total of five machines in that precinct; four closed out properly, and one did not,” he said.

“It’s not a big issue, but there are 10 votes locked in one of those machines and we will have to have the maintenance people come back on Wednesday so we can retrieve those votes before we can close the election out,” he said.

The 10 votes will be added to the total and the election results will be certified on Thursday of this week, Graham said.

A second hiccup was felt earlier in the night when the counting of the votes on Election Night was slightly delayed because the reader for the PEB (Personal Electronic Ballots, those flat square boxes with the green stripe on them that you see poll workers using on the machine before you are positioned in front of the machine to vote) was not working at first.

“The PEB is what we get all of our vote totals off of at the end of the night,” Graham explained, “and after about 45 minutes of not having the reader be able to read the PEB, we got that resolved,” he said.

After several tries, county IT professional David Schuelke was able to get the reader working and the votes were quickly tabulated.

Despite these bumps in the road, Election Night continued to run smoothly, and more so than some other counties, Graham said.

“If it’s any consolation to Chester County voters, here it is 9:30 p.m. we’re only one of 10 counties at this time that can say that. We are completely reported, with the exception of those 10 votes,” Graham said.

“I want to thank all of my background people that don’t really get the credit: my office staff, my poll workers, my clerks, my IT guy and my Election Commission, I give them all the praise because if it wasn't for them, this wouldn’t happen,” he said.

Graham comments on voter turnout

Graham said the voter turnout for this primary was low. About 4,000 voters of the 21,000 or so registered voters in Chester County turned out for the primary.

“That was kind of a disgrace, but it was a primary after all. I just wish that people would understand that the primary is just as important as the general election,” Graham said.