RIVER FALLS -- A ballot tabulation machine at the River Falls High School polling place became jammed from about 8:55 to 9:30 a.m. this morning, Tuesday, Nov. 6. According to the site’s chief election official Debra Andazola, a paper ballot, filled out by hand, jammed when it was inserted into the machine, and a small piece of paper became stuck inside the portion of the machine that scanned hand-filled ballots.
During that time, voters were encouraged to use touch-screen voting, the smaller printed ballots from which could still be fed into the machine and scanned, as that portion of the machine was not jammed.
Deputy City Clerk Jackie Sahnow came to the polling place to fix the jammed machine. Andazola said it took about 15 minutes on the phone with the machine’s manufacturer for Sahnow to get the help she needed to fix the machine. Once the machine was up and running again, voters were once again able to scan their hand-filled ballots. All ballots scanned through the machine were deposited in a secured, locked compartment of the machine, Andazola said.
During the time the machine was jammed, hand-filled ballots were deposited in a separate, locked compartment of the machine, Andazola said. She said election officials will scan those ballots through the machine at the end of the day, and those ballots will be counted via the machine.
Andazola has been an election official for close to 13 years. She said this particular machine is new. The city got it in January. It has been used in the January, February, April and August elections. This is the first time the machine has had a mechanical issue, Andazola said.