Election board, county board address St. Joe Co. delay in counted ballots

Published: Nov. 7, 2018 at 5:27 PM EST
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Despite what many voters in St. Joseph County believed, final ballot totals were not in Tuesday night.

NewsCenter 16 learned that more than 22,000 absentee ballots still needed to be counted and were not initially included in the final results.

The election board said its new system for absentee ballots does not pair well with the older systems at county precincts. The new system allowed voters to select their candidate and then print out their ballot, which were then dropped in.

The board said the precincts contain voting systems that are between 15 and 18 years old and operate on a completely different software.

The more than 22,000 votes are now counted, and the election board has since released those unofficial results. They are accurate, and state law allows up to 10 days after an election before the results become final.

The election board said it has tried to fix the dueling system issue in the past.

“We have repeatedly asked the county council to upgrade our precinct location equipment so that we can be more modern, but quite frankly, we did have two software systems last night and we did have to marry up the two reports to get the final totals," Democratic Election Board Member Catherine Fanello said.

St. Joseph County Board President Rafael Morton confirmed the system issue and the need for update software. He cited a county property tax cap and costly software as primary barriers.

Morton said it would cost nearly $2 million to implement the new software across all county precincts.