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Erie County elections commissioners defend publishing late results

Erie County elections officials had said prior to Election Day that all of the results from the nine days of early voting would be posted online by about 9:15 p.m. But no results at all appeared on the Board of Elections website until about 9:50 p.m.

Officials downplayed the lag, noting that this was the first year of early voting and the technology that accompanied it, such as the electronic polling books used to sign voters in.

“This isn’t about fast, this is about right,” said Derek Murphy, communications director for the Board of Elections.

But the delays continued well after the early voting results had been posted. As of 11:06 p.m., 19% of the voting districts still had not reported their results.

Officials pointed to yet another change in procedure that was implemented this year. In the past, poll workers would call in results from each polling site once voting had ended for the night. Those results were then entered into the county’s computer system.

While that sped up the process, it also sometimes introduced human error such as transposed numbers. This year, no results were accepted by phone. That meant no results appeared in the computer system until someone physically drove the electronic chips with results from each polling place downtown to the Board of Elections.

Elections Commissioner Jeremy Zellner downplayed complaints, saying results were always late in getting reported in Erie County.

“This is nothing new,” he said.

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