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Florence County election official call delay in election results 'embarrassing'

(WPDE)

Florence County Voter Registration and Elections Commissions Director David Alford called Tuesday’s nights delay in getting results because of a computer problem embarrassing.

"What I regret more than anything else is when you have a delay such as that, it's number one, you shouldn't have delays like that. It's embarrassing. It's extremely stressful for myself, as well as my staff and candidates. With that being said, we were able to work through it. We're checking and testing the data that we collected last night,” said Alford.

Alford said the ballot card reader wasn’t in sync with a new computer program provided to them by the S.C. Election Commission.

He added the new hardware is designed to make it tougher for hackers to get into the system.

"Due to hardware vote issues on hardware that we're using in this election for the first time. The State Election Commission provided us with a new version of our election hardware and software. This is the first time we've used it in Florence. We haven't had an election this year. A security device process. It provides security from the hackers per say, that was brought up during the 2016 election process. Which is a great system and idea, but the hardware needs improvement, is the least I can say,” said Alford.

Alford said they restarted the system several times Tuesday night, but to no avail.

He added he finally decided to go to the backup plan.

"I also had backup hardware that I transferred to last night. And it did not perform its duties any better than the other. I had a backup plan in place, but neither plan came through."

Alford said he had to resort to another method to collect the data to compile and gather election results.

"I made the decision to collect the data from the flash cards. From the individual machines. That's an elongated process, but the flash cards on the voting machines collect the data just like a PEB does. We tested with the equipment. We set up the equipment with the system. It performed wonderfully. But when everyone was watching, it failed, but we worked around it. We got results and moving forward from here, hope and pray it doesn't happen again."

Alford said they’re working with the S.C. Election Commission to make sure the problem is fixed before the primary in another two weeks.

"We're gonna resolve these issues, hopefully before the runoff and November for sure. Because this was not an isolated issue in the state. And we've got some matters to address,” explained Alford.

We’re told other counties across the state reported similar problems with the new computer program.

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