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electionlineWeekly — May 19, 2016

Table of Contents

II. Primary Roundup
Voters went to the polls (and mailboxes) for primaries in three states this week. In Idaho it was a local/statewide primary, in Kentucky, it was the Democrats turn to choose a presidential nominee and in Oregon, everything was on the table for both political parties at the local, state and federal level. Also, the April 26 primary in Maryland isn’t quite over yet.

Voters in Idaho went to the polls on Tuesday to vote in numerous state and local races and turnout was low, as predicted with officials in Ada County expecting no more than 17 percent turnout.

KTVB took a behind the scenes look at what happens on primary day in Boise, something they may not have been able to do if it was busier!

Things got so slow, at one Boise polling place, an election worker stood outside the site wearing a cardboard voting booth and waving at passing drivers encouraging them to vote.

Ada County put new voting machines to the test on Tuesday and there were no reported problems with the functionality of the machines, although one disabled voter did express his frustrations with the new system.

Other than the rainy weather, things went relatively well on Tuesday in the Bluegrass State — even if we don’t yet have an official winner (at press time anyway). Turnout across the state was slow, but steady and there were few reported problems.

Despite few officially reported problems, the state’s election fraud hotline received 76 complaints and questions from 31 counties. A third of those calls came from Jefferson County. Some of the calls were about voting machines, others were complaints about campaign activities too close to polling places and some were complaints about vote buying.

Voters went to the mailbox in Oregon in Tuesday and at press time it appeared would top 1 million, it was not a record breaking turnout. Since Oregon is all vote-by-mail, there are few, if any reports of problems on voting day, but there were some issues leading up to the election and on Tuesday.

Over the weekend, a ballot box in Klamath County was broken into and the ballots were thrown into a nearby dumpster. There were about 240 ballots in the box at the time of the break-in. The recovered ballots were all in good shape and able to be counted. Klamath County turnout broke the 60 percent mark.

Officials in Coos County were testing the new Clear Ballot voting system on Tuesday. The system cost the county about $11,200 and officials were excited about the prospects of the new system ultimately lowering costs. "We have been able to reduce a few of the 'hands on' steps by our election crew, which reduces the time it takes to process the ballots, increases the efficiency and will ultimately reduce our election costs,” County Clerk Terri Turi told The World

In Grant County, the county’s phone and Internet were down during the morning hours leaving voters with no local contact for questions or concerns about the election. Apparently an employee opened an email with malware, which lead to the shutdown. Both phone and Internet were back up and running by lunch time.

And on the secretary of state front, Republican Dennis Richardson, a senator and former candidate for governor won the GOP nomination for the state’s top elections job and on the Democrat side it is Brad Avakian, the state’s labor commissioner who will represent the other side of the ticket.

Late last week, the Maryland State Board of Elections decertified the results of the April 26 primary in Baltimore. State Elections Administrator Linda H. Lamone said the number of ballots cast in the April 26 contest was hundreds more than the number of voters who checked in at polling places. The state also identified 80 provisional ballots that hadn’t been considered.

On Monday, a team of city, state and county canvassers began a precinct-by-precinct review of the ballots cast last month.

According to WJZ, election officials suspect that in some precincts, provisional ballots were mistakenly scanned and included in the precinct’s vote count. Provisional ballots are given to voters whose names aren’t listed in the precinct registers.

The SBE has opened some of the audit to the media, mayoral candidate Shelia Dixon filed suit in a Baltimore court seeking to have the audit entirely open to the media and general public.