III. Primary Updates
Voters in five more states went to the polls this week. It was the usual hodgepodge of confused voters, malfunctioning voting machines and delayed results. Probably the biggest story out of June 12 was the debut of ranked-choice voting in Maine.
Maine: All eyes were on Maine this week as the state rolled out ranked-choice voting for the first statewide elections in the nation. Voters also weighed in on a referendum that would have, if approved, repealed the use of ranked-choice. It wasn’t a perfect rollout with some elections officials noticing an uptick in spoiled ballots. Some voters also questioned why they were being asked to vote on the system while using the system. With seven Democratic candidates vying for governor, it is all but certain that the ranked-choice counting system will come into play. When it does, all ballots will be brought via courier to the state elections offices for counting. Although voters approved keeping the system and things seemed to go well, overall, on primary day, Gov. Paul LePage has threatened not to certify the election. In addition to ranked-choice voting, voters faced a variety of typical election-day issues including a lack of parking at a polling place in Chelsea, and voting machine issues in Gardiner.
Nevada: There were some “hiccups” during primary voting in the The Silver State primary this week. In Reno, technical errors with the county’s new voting machines slowed some voters. There were reports in Washoe County that some candidates were left off of ballots. Clark County voters also experienced problems with names on ballots. Technical issues delayed the vote count in Pershing County. In the secretary of state race, incumbent Barbara Cegavske (R) will face State Assemblyman Nelson Araujo (D).
North Dakota: It was a relatively quiet day at the polls and voting was slow, but not because there were any issues. Some voters in Grand Forks had issues with showing up at the incorrect polling places. And in the race for secretary of state, Will Gardner won the Republican nomination although he had dropped out of the race last month According to the InForum, Gardner has notified party officials that he will follow through and formally withdraw. In November, Democrat Joshua Boschee will face incumbent Al Jaeger who is running as an independent.
South Carolina: While election day was smooth for many South Carolina voters, it wasn’t perfect for everyone. In Spartanburg County, one precinct was forced to operate on battery power. Some Berkley County voters were greeted with polling location changes. Results were delayed in Greenville County due to broken counting machines. Results were late in Florence County. Eight voting machines in Horry County were not closed properly which delayed the tallying of votes. The election was also an opportunity to debut the state’s new “I Voted” stickers that were provided by the nonprofit Palmetto Project.
Virginia: Election day in the commonwealth was marked by relatively low turnout. Voters Albemarle County found their new polling places with few problems. One issue that did arise for voters and poll workers in the Washington, DC-area of Virginia forced them to decide between their civic duty and celebrating the Stanley Cup victory of the Washington Capitals. Voting absentee to attend the championship parade was a valid excuse, but poll workers had a tougher choice to make. Anecdotally, Northern Virginia registrars didn’t report problems with poll workers not showing up.