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Video: Voters told to ‘come back’ later; ballot scanners stop working in Ohio special election

A poll worker gets "I Voted" stickers ready.(Carolina Hidalgo/Tampa Bay Times/TNS)
August 09, 2023

All ballot scanners at a Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, polling location experienced issues during a special election on Tuesday, according to local reporter Mike Holden with News 5 Cleveland. Election officials later said confused poll workers were to blame for the problems, not the scanners themselves.

Holden posted a video on Twitter showing multiple scanners had error messages on their displays, noting, “There’s a bit of an issue here.”

One ballot scanner’s screen displayed the following message:

“Your ballot was NOT counted. There is a ballot jam in the front and the back. Ask a poll worker for help.”

Holden showed another scanner with the same message.

“This has resulted in people not being able to cast their ballot immediately. So, what they can do in the interim is put their ballots in this orange box, and it will be scanned later. Or they can void the ballot and come back, but people are concerned, and they’re very upset,” Holden explained. “They’re making calls to the Board of Elections right now.”

Summit County Board of Elections Deputy Director Pete Zeigler denied the voting machines malfunctioned, blaming poll workers for ballots not feeding into the scanners properly.

“These machines have not malfunctioned; this has only been happening because of poll workers struggling to learn the new equipment,” Zeigler said, according to Akron Beacon Journal. “At no point was voting halted. They only swapped out machines as a precaution.”

The special election held on Aug. 8 in Ohio concerned the Republican-backed Issue 1, which would implement several changes, including requiring 60% of voters to pass a constitutional amendment.

Ohio voters cast almost 700,000 early in-person votes and mail-in ballots before election day, according to The Associated Press.

President Joe Biden praised the elections’ outcome, saying, “Ohioans spoke loud and clear, and tonight democracy won.”