Tulsa County Election Board problems slow counts
BY KEVIN CANFIELD World Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 07, 2012
11/07/12 at 4:22 PM
The Tulsa County Election Board did not finish counting ballots from Tuesday’s election until 1:45 a.m. Wednesday, Election Board officials said.
The vote count was marred by delays at the beginning and the end of the process.
Shelly Boggs, assistant Election Board secretary, said the board could not begin reporting results for nearly two hours after polls closed at 7 p.m. because it was working to complete official ballots for hundreds of military personnel and other oversees voters.
At the end of the process, the count was delayed an additional 1½ hours by mechanical glitches in 11 machines.
Boggs said 23,000 absentee ballots were cast, including 11,000 voters who took part in the early voting process.
The law also stipulates that ballots cannot be opened and verified prior to the Thursday before the election and cannot be tabulated until Election Day.
The Election Board emails ballots to voters overseas, who then print them out before returning them by fax or mail, as required by law. In either case, the Election Board — including representatives of the Republican and Democrat parties — must then create an official ballot that can be run through the voting machines.
"We were at it all day long," Boggs said. "It wasn't like we are over here twiddling our thumbs."
Boggs said Election Board received a total of 516 overseas absentee ballots and that many of them arrived Monday and Tuesday.
Boggs said 26,000 absentee ballots were cast.
State election board recommends that absentee ballots be tabulated first before ballots from local precincts can be counted.
The law also stipulates that ballots cannot be opened and verified prior to the Thursday before the election and cannot be tabulated until the polls close on Election Day.
Tuesday’s presidential election turnout was 227,000, nearly 30,000 less than the 2008 turnout.
Tulsa County had 347,000 residents registered to vote in Tuesday’s election.
Brett Roberts and Chad Gilley feed ballots into a machine just after midnight Wednesday at the Tulsa County Election Board. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World