Whitley County officials say that although they have had a few complaints about voter problems at election precincts, they were unable to substantiate any of those complaints while investigating during Tuesday’s election.
“We haven’t seen anything out of the ordinary than in any other countywide election in the past four years,” said Whitley County Clerk Tom Rains.
Les Fugate, Director of Communications for the Kentucky Board of Elections, said his office received a couple of calls from individuals saying that they pressed one name on a voting machine, and that it lit up another candidate’s name instead.
Fugate said Rains, election officials, and technicians with Hart Enterprises investigated the complaints, but that they turned out to be nothing.
Rains said officials had to respond to four complaints at precincts before lunch, and that some boards inside machines were replaced as a precaution.
“We just replaced it to make sure everything was working fine, just to satisfy everybody. We didn’t find any problems everywhere we have been,” Rains said.
About 8:15 a.m. in the Pleasant View precinct, Rains said election officers had trouble opening the new e-slate voting machines, and officials were sent down to assist with that.
About 8:30 a.m., a matrix board was replaced at the Pleasant View precinct after a couple of complaints from people.
“You can’t punch the person’s name and vote for them. You have to punch the little square by the name and vote for them,” Rains said.
“We saw a lot of people that hadn’t voted in four years, and they thought that if they punched the name, they got to vote for them, and that doesn’t work. We had a few calls on that, and that was the biggest problem.”
About 9:15 a.m. in the Martin Springs precinct, Rains said an election technician replaced a board after a complaint was made.
“There was a complaint, and we replaced the board. We voted before, and we voted after that, and everything was perfect. There wasn’t anything wrong with it whatsoever,” Rains said.
“We let the people vote it, and the election officers vote it, and it was perfect.”
Jailer candidate Will Leach said when he went to help his elderly father vote in the Pleasant View polling station, the voting machine wasn’t working properly.
“His didn’t work,” Leach said. “He tried to vote for H.D. Moses. It didn’t take. The light stayed over on the far end. Mine worked, but my dad’s didn’t.”
Leach said his father can’t read and he goes into the voting booth to assist him. He said he complained to poll workers that his father was unable to cast his ballot for Sheriff.
About 10:15 a.m., at the Boston precinct, Rains said the matrix board was replaced in one machine by technicians with Hart Enterprises.
“We test voted it, and everything was perfect,” Rains said.
Rains said he received a few complaints from people that felt like they didn’t get to vote for the right candidate, but he said he attributes this partially to the large ballot.
“Our machines are such good machines that if you voted for the wrong person, you just touch and vote it off, and vote again until you hit the green button,” Rains said. “If you don’t hit the square and you hit the person below you, you will vote for that person.
“There is a little bit of confusion with some of the voters, who felt like maybe they voted for the wrong people. If you vote for the wrong person, you don’t get a second chance if you leave the polling place.”
Rains said election officials received a few complaints by people that thought they should be entitled to vote in the wet/dry election, but that it turned out they lived outside the city limits.
He said there are three precincts that have voters that live inside the Williamsburg city limits and voters that live outside the city limits.
“We had a couple of complaints at College Hill from people that felt like they ought to have voted in the wet/dry election,” Rains said. “We had people in the county complaining about why they can’t vote in the wet/dry out in the county precincts.
“We’ve had calls on that. We can’t let them vote on it in the county precincts. Only voters in the city can vote. You wouldn’t believe the calls we have had on that.”
Rains said he furnished the City of Williamsburg with a voting roster for all city residents so the rooster could be coded with the names of those living in the city limits.
“I put the burden on the City of Williamsburg to code my roster with their city voters. I had a coded roster by the City of Williamsburg listing people that get city services, and are in the city limits,” Rains said..
“We had a couple of people that felt like they were in the city, but they weren’t coded in the city. We check them by whether they pay city taxes. If they pay city tax, we can determine or look on the map and see if they are in the city or not.”
He said one area that caused confusion was people that lived in the Williamsburg city school district, but not in the city limits of Williamsburg because the boundary lines overlap.
“I don’t know of anybody not getting to vote,” Rains said.
He said that if someone went up to an election officer in one of the city precincts and said they lived in the city, then the election officer would code the machine with the wet/dry vote, and the person would have been allowed to vote in the wet/dry race.
“I can’t see anything anybody did wrong. Right at this time I can’t,” Rains noted.
If someone thought that they lived in the city limits and weren’t allowed to vote, then they can sign an “oath of voter” Rains said, and file it with the grand jury.
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