Three-quarters of all voting machines are broken in one Utah county
Three-quarters of all voting machines in Washington County, Utah, broke down early Tuesday due to improperly coded memory cards, County Clerk Kim Hafen told VICE News. The machines are now back up and running, according to local media.
Election officials scrambled to issue paper ballots in some locations, which quickly ran out, according to reports online. Paper ballots were not offered in other locations, such as St. George and Hurricane, local newspaper The Spectrum reported.
— Shane Brown (@shanebrownKDXU) November 8, 2016
— Shara Park (@KSLSharaPark) November 8, 2016
Hafen said there were four sets of memory cards and that three of the four were coded improperly, disabling the voting machines. Elections officials are in the process of recoding the cards and delivering them to the 36 polling locations in the county. “We are working to get them up and running,” Haven said.
Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox confirmed the glitch in a tweet shortly before 9 a.m. local time. “Good news! Washington Co issue isolated. Cards are being reprogrammed & will be delivered to polling locations soon,” he wrote.
This #ElectionDay in Washington County Utah, three people at a time are voting on paper ballots. Memory cards dead in voting machines.
— Christa Hinton (@HintonChrista) November 8, 2016
Washington County is a rural area in the southwest corner of Utah encompassing Zion National Park. The county’s population was 138,115 as of the 2010 Census.
Reporters at the scene noted that some voters were quick to suggest foul play.
Already hearing folks suggesting "it looks like Hillary upset this voting process already". SMH
— Brett Menzie (@EIZNEM) November 8, 2016
Utah is a swing state for the first time in years because of a strong third-party Mormon candidate in the heavily Mormon state, Evan McMullin. The former CIA operative is expected to take about 28 percent of the vote, according to an analysis of recent polls conducted by FiveThirtyEight.
Republican Donald Trump is still expected to win there. (He’s got an 83 percent chance of prevailing, according to FiveThirtyEight.) But the three candidates are close enough that voting problems in a county like that are worth watching as results come in.