Hendersonville voters met with problems at polls

Hendersonville voters met with problems at polls (Image 1)

Ballot boxes at three voting locations in Sumner County were down when the first voters arrived to cast ballots Tuesday morning.

At Hendersonville and Beech High schools and Volunteer State Community College, election machines weren’t working when the polls opened at 7 a.m.

Doors to the rooms where the voting booths were kept were locked when election officials arrived at Hendersonville High.

Once the doors were opened it was discovered that they could not be started because of a recent software update.

“When they put the start card in the voting machine it got an error on the security code,” said Sumner County administrator of elections Lori Atchley.

Atchley said when the problem was discovered voters were offered to cast provisional paper ballots.

But some voters reportedly left the polls without casting ballots. One campaign volunteer said he saw several ‘frustrated people’ who left before walking into the school.

Mark Nodini, a candidate for a county commission seat told News 2, “There were a few people I saw that way. We talked to a couple of people and they said they would come back this afternoon. I hope they do.”

Important offices are up for grabs in Sumner County. Elections are being held for two  judge seats, two clerk positions, sheriff and county commissioners in six districts.

Of the 85,000 active voters in Sumner County, it was expected 8-10% will turn out Tuesday.

Voters choosing not to vote rather than wait on machines to be running could have an impact on the results said county commission candidate Mike Connor.

“It could mean I or one of the other candidates wins or loses. We have a lot riding on this election,” he said.

Nodini added, “This district has 9,000 people and we’re expecting between eight to 10% of voters, so you’re talking about one vote can mean the difference.”

Atchley told News 2 when the problem with the start cards was first noticed, the provisional ballots were ready for voters. By 8 a.m., she said, machines at the three locations were running.

Paper, provisional ballots cast Tuesday could impact when winners are announced. Atchley said those paper ballots will be counted later this week.

“If there’s a race that’s within five votes and we have 10 provisional ballots for that precinct, we won’t know until Friday morning,” Atchley said.

For complete election coverage, click here.

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