Flawed Cochise County election returns recounted
Primary election tallies from Cochise County have been updated, after being temporarily pulled from statewide totals because incorrect results were reported Tuesday night. "We're still trying to figure out what exactly happened," an election official said.
The results uploaded Tuesday showed "unusually high" turnout in Cochise primaries, alerting county officials that something was wrong, said Jim Vlahovich, a deputy county administrator.
The data showed "more than 60 percent of the total number of registered voters had turned in ballots," he said Wednesday. The preliminary results were pulled down early Wednesday morning, he said.
"We're still trying to figure out what exactly happened," he said Thursday.
Vlahovich, also the interim director of Cochise's election department, didn't respond to detailed questions regarding the flawed results.
"Polling stations' counting machines at each of the county's precincts have memory cards, which count the votes and compile the voting data. Polling place inspectors are required to phone in the total number of votes cast at their polling place. That number matches the number of votes transmitted via modem from the counting machines. It is believed a technical error occurred sometime between the aggregation of this data in the ES&S (election) system and the transmission of reports to the Secretary of State," Vlahovich said in a statement Wednesday.
Raw election data from Cochise precincts was to be flown by helicopter to Graham County to be recounted Wednesday, said Vlahovich.
The county will "then begin the many additional verification processes it has in place to ensure the accuracy of the results," Vlahovich said Wednesday.
In Yavapai County results were not reported until early Wednesday morning because of technical problems with a new system.
Problems with a new elections system — Unisyn OpenElect, not used in any other Arizona counties — meant officials could not properly export a results file. Data was finally exported around 5:40 a.m., and included in statewide results around 8:30 a.m., said Kim Crawford, a state elections spokeswoman.
Elections results reported on primary night are considered unofficial.