‘Glitch’ leads to switch to old time ballot box

A Casco resident puts his ballots into a wooden ballot box on Tuesday night, while an Election Day worker oversees the process. (De Busk Photo)

A Casco resident puts his ballots into a wooden ballot box on Tuesday night, while an Election Day worker oversees the process. (De Busk Photo)

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer
CASCO — Casco residents who headed to their local polling place after work or after dinner took a step back into time. Some people ended up depositing their ballots in a wooden ballot box, instead of using the state-issued machine that accepts and counts ballots.
Shortly after 6 p.m., a bottleneck occurred in the large meeting room of the Casco Community Center. About five dozen people were standing in line with completed ballots in hand — waiting to properly drop off those ballots.
The Election Systems and Software (ES&S) 200 ballot counting machine, which is used by many communities, was not functioning correctly. The ballot counting machine is owned by the State of Maine, and supplied to municipalities during elections.
“The ballot machine was out of sync. It would take one ballot, and then not take the next one,” said Casco Town Clerk Lucille Griffin.
The machine “just had a little glitch that was easy to fix. You opened it up and fixed it,” she said.
“That was something that happened to several communities,” Griffin said.
The process of stopping to fix the voting machine for every other ballot became time-consuming.
“That was why there was a backup of people,” Griffin said.
So, the Election Day workers decided to rely on less modern technology — the tried and true wooden ballot box — in order to collect ballots from voters.
“We didn’t want people to stand and wait too long. We got the wooden ballot box,” she said.
However, the Town of Casco used the ballot counting machine to tally all of the votes.
“We did put them through the machine. The ballots were all counted and all done,” Griffin said.
According to voting numbers from the Town Office, 1,706 people made the trip to the polls to participate in this year’s Gubernatorial Election.
That number was considerably higher in November 2012, which was a Presidential Election year. At that time, 3,123 registered voters cast their ballots in Casco.

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