Machine gremlins threaten vote count - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Machine gremlins threaten vote count

A crew of three is checking near 800 Johnson County machines, one by one. A crew of three is checking near 800 Johnson County machines, one by one.
ES&S head John Groh personally apologized at a hearing before Sec. of State Todd Rokita. ES&S head John Groh personally apologized at a hearing before Sec. of State Todd Rokita.

Kevin Rader/Eyewitness News

Franklin, April 19 - When Ivotronics voting machines were purchased in Johnson County in 2003, they were billed as an opportunity to touch the future. It's three years later and two weeks away from a primary election. The future is now. Will the machines be ready?

"It will be a miracle. We are going to have to work around the clock. They are going to have to work around the clock," said Jill Jackson, Johnson County Clerk.

"They" are ES&S, Election Systems and Software. While frontline personnel were busy checking PEB's (personal electronic ballots), their boss, John Groh, was groveling before Indiana's Secretary of State.

"In situations where we have not performed up to our own high expectations we apologize. Personally I apologize for that," Groh said at an informational meeting called by Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita.

But apologies may not be enough for Rokita, who is considering levying fines against the Omaha, Nebraska company for delays and inaccuracies in their voting systems. It's already caused major problems in Johnson County where the county commissioners invested in 459 Ivotronic voting machines which were not ready for absentee voters on April 3. As a result, the county set up temporary voting booths.

County Clerk Jackson is very concerned."I am not in the habit of missing statutory deadlines, but I feel like this was out of my control. I relied on the vendor to meet the deadlines when they sold us the service. They need to make sure they are not missing deadlines."

ES&S currently has three people checking 321 PEB's. When they are done with that, there are 459 machines that need to be tested as well.

Right now no one in Johnson County is sure that the most important deadline this spring, the primary election, will be met.

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