Minor Equipment Issues Slow Vote Count In Dawes County


    It took Dawes County Clerk Cheryl Feist about an hour longer than she expected to get all the ballots counted last night, primarily because of what turned out to be a minor problem with the scanning and tabulating equipment.

     Feist says that as the first run of ballots from the first precinct began, several failed to be picked up by the equipment. She immediately stopped and contacted the company. 

     A technician determined the problem was the tension on the roller and Feist says a small adjustment led to the elimination of the problem.

     Also contributing to the delay were a number of ballots that got hung up in the machine because they had been folded for shipping.

      Feist switched to smaller envelopes this year, which gave the county significant savings in postage and the purchase price, but the number of candidates and contested races in the Republican primary resulted in a long ballot that had to be folded to fit. 

      She says the ballots that hung up were simply taken out, straightened a little, and run through the equipment again. 

Dawes County had the 8th highest voter turnout at 48.05%, and the Panhandle had the counties with the highest and lowest turnouts. Garden was tops at 62% and Scotts Bluff at the bottom at just 14%.

Statewide, turnout was 27%, well under the 35% predicted by Secretary of State Bob Evnen.