Wednesday, May 4th, 2011
Election night goes well
By William Kincaid
CELINA - Election night went smoothly in Mercer County compared to the 2010 elections.
Final unofficial results for all 38 precincts were made available to the public about 10 p.m. Tuesday at the Mercer County Courthouse. No problems were reported at any of the precincts.
Problems with voting equipment in last year's general election delayed the release of results until about 2:30 a.m., and the 2010 primary election results were available about 1 a.m.
Board of elections member Mark Uhlenhake and deputy director Laura Bruns attributed the faster process to well-prepared poll workers, the use of electronic voting machines and new electronic voter identification machines.
"We did a lot more hands-on training with them (poll workers), and we did smaller classes," Bruns said.
She also believes electronic voting machines - which were the primary means of voting Tuesday - sped the tabulation time. Poll workers encouraged voters to use the machines, and as a result, only four paper ballots were cast Tuesday, she said.
"Everything was just perfect with the touch screens," she said.
Uhlenhake said people seemed happy using the electronic machines.
"And that's good to have that feedback," he said.
Board members this year authorized a $26,479 purchase of electronic voter verification equipment - known as electronic poll books - for the Celina polling locations. Poll workers were able to immediately identify voters and make sure they voted in the right precinct.
"The people loved them," Bruns said. "They really made it a lot faster."
Not only do the poll books save time, but they also insure the integrity of the election, board member Toni Slusser said.
The voter turnout in Mercer County was 17.81 percent. Twenty-nine provisional ballots will be counted on May 18.
"I think it was splendid - everything went real well," Mercer County Board of Elections Director Deb Sneddon said. "If we can get a little bit of improved end time, we're heading in the right direction."