Though rain-soaked ballots jammed a handful of voting machines, Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz said that the new statewide optical scan system ran smoothly on its first Election Day.
"We've actually had fewer issues with election machines this Election Day, rather than primary day," Bysiewicz said.
Machines at 19 polling places needed to be replaced with backup machines available onsite.
Bysiewicz said machines in South Windsor, Hartford and New Britain were jammed by ballots that were brushed against surfaces wet from rain and were replaced within "a minute or two."
One of those locations was the polling station at the Hartford Public Library. Ida W. Epps, the coordinator of the polling location, said the malfunctioning machine was quickly replaced.
Approximately two-thirds of the 163 municipalities holding elections were using optical scan machines for the first time Tuesday, replacing the state's mechanical voting machines rendered obsolete by federal law, according to a statement by the secretary of the state's office.
The other one-third used the new method in previous elections or primaries.
Bysiewicz's office had five "rapid response election teams" available to help local election officials with potential problems.
Epps and Bysiewicz said the number of voters who were confused by the new system was minimal.
"[Voters] are very comfortable with it," Epps said.
"The voters who were anxious were the ones who didn't know what to expect," Bysiewicz said, adding that many who were expecting ATM-like machines were relieved that they were using paper ballots instead.
"Our office got calls from people who decided to call to say they voted, it was very easy, they felt their vote was counted and their vote was counted in a new way," Bysiewicz said.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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