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Posted November 6, 2012 | comments Leave a comment

New Market: Ballot rejected; error blamed

By Alex Bridges

Election officials in Shenandoah County say human error likely led to a voting machine not taking a completed paper ballot Tuesday morning.

The incident occurred around 7 a.m. at the New Market Fire and Rescue Department.

Officials noticed the ballot left by the machine but could not find the voter to advise him or her that the ballot had been rejected, McDonald said. Per federal election regulations officials can not try to reinsert the paper ballot for the voter who left the polling place, according to McDonald. The ballot remained uncounted.

The optical scanner could have rejected the paper ballot either because the voter filled in more circles than allowed for a given race, according to General Registrar Lisa McDonald. Or the voter tried to force the paper into the reader slot that also would have caused the machine to reject the ballot, McDonald explained.

The registrar indicated she did not know which of the possible situations occurred that would lead to the ballot's rejection.

The machine did function properly, McDonald said.

The registrar's office had heard of only the one incident at the county's polling places by Tuesday afternoon, according to McDonald.

Shenandoah County polling places saw high voter turnout much of the day, McDonald said.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com

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