A few problems pester voters at booths
Voting in Nevada County mostly went smoothly Tuesday, with some exceptions reported in the western part of the county.
Electronic voting machines that failed to work for more than three hours in Lake Wildwood slowed balloting.
In the Cypress Hill area of Grass Valley, some voters reported getting incorrect information about the location of their polling places and feared it would affect turnout.
“We went to exactly where we were told to go, and there was nothing there,” said Roxanne Miller, wife of City Council front-runner Dan Miller. Sample voter pamphlets had directed them to a polling place at the Olympia Glade Mobile Home park.
The Millers ended up going to a previous polling place on Dorsey Drive, where they voted.
Dan Miller said he contacted the county elections office and was told he had been sent a postcard with the correct polling place. He didn’t recall receiving the notice, however, and said he was concerned that voters would get frustrated and wind up not voting at all.
Meanwhile, in Lake Wildwood, resident Sheila Miller saw long lines at a polling site inside the Lake Wildwood clubhouse at about 11:30 a.m. and decided to vote later. When she returned at 1:50 p.m., a poll worker told her that the machines had been out of order.
According to Assistant Recorder-Clerk Corey Wilkins, the Diebold electronic voting machine did not work for three hours because the canister that holds the paper for counting the ballots was missing a seal. He also confirmed that an optical-scanning machine was out of order for 15 minutes.
The scanner speeds up election results by counting ballots at the polling place, saving workers the time it would take to return them to the elections office for counting after polls close.
This is the first time that the Diebold voting machine has been used in Nevada County. The scanner has been used previously but only at the elections office.
Sheila Miller, no relation to Dan Miller, also said that poll workers had asked three people in front of her for their identification, which is not required by California state law. When she questioned the workers, asking which law required that she show her identification, they did not require her to show it.
Wilkins reminded poll workers to not ask voters for identification when he investigated Miller’s concerns after she called the elections office.
The elections office official also spotted a pile of ballots that were uncovered in a cardboard box on the floor and asked the poll worker to put the ballots in their proper place, according to Miller.
Wilkins declined to comment on the incident, pending further investigation.
Lake Wildwood’s Miller expressed satisfaction that Wilkins made an effort to investigate the machine outages.
“He responded quite promptly and was very polite,” she said, adding that she was concerned election officials might not have known about the problem if she hadn’t notified the elections office.
To contact Staff Writer Jill Bauerle, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4219.
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