Originally posted Nov. 8 at 11:31 a.m.
A series of inconsistencies in how the votes were counted led the county clerk to eventually suspend tallying votes at 2 a.m. The work is expected to resume later today.
In a contentious decision earlier this year, the Monroe County Election Board decided to use paper ballots for the general election rather than the electronic system used in the primary. The result was a chaotic scene after polls closed, with vote counters lined up at tables running the full length of the Justice Building.
Poll workers were supposed to count votes at their locations and then transport them to the Justice Center. Two precincts however failed to complete the first official count at the required precinct location. They instead brought the ballots directly to the polling location at the justice building.
County clerk Linda Robbins acknowledged Tuesday night that someone could contest the election given that proper procedure was not followed.
Both parties blamed the other for the slowdown. Republican Election Board member Judith Smith-Ille says problems started with Democratic resistance to the use of electronic ballots.
“The election law says that we have to not only count the number of ballots at the polls, we have to tabulate them there,” she says. “If they had been optically scanned we would only have to count the paper ballots.”
But her Democratic counterpart, Jan Ellis, says Republicans insisted on changing vote-counting procedures at the last minute.
“We had it all set up to count centrally here at the courthouse, and it wouldn’t have been so chaotic,” Ellis says.
Officials with both parties say an electronic voting system will be in place before the next election.