BUFFALO, NY-- High voter turnout overwhelmed a small percentage of ballot machines at various poll locations on Tuesday, causing minor jams easily fixable by the Erie County Board of Election’s technicians.
With tens of thousands of voters casting ballots, Board of Elections Commissioner Len Lenihan said his agency received at least 20 to 25 reports of jammed machines, which sometimes happens due to high demand in a presidential year. 2 On Your Side viewers reported jams in Williamsville, Amherst, the city of Buffalo and elsewhere.
At the Twin District Fire Company in Lancaster, a few machines temporarily jammed. Technicians were able to immediately fix the problem.
“They’re not broken,” Lenihan said. “They’re jammed. There’s no machine that gets carted out because it doesn’t work. There will be a machine that breaks down from time to time, and we have replacement machines if that happens, but for the most part, what happens is we have to go out there and unjam the machine. And we are doing that very quickly.”
When a voter encounters a jammed machine, he or she must simply place the ballot in an “Emergency Bin.” At the end of the night, once the problem has been solved, those votes will be scanned.
“Let me assure them,” Lenihan said, “all voters are counted today, no question about it.”
Turnout in Erie County may approach 70 percent, Lenihan said, which would place this year’s election in the same general ballpark as 2012. The 2008 election saw a 75 percent voter turnout figure in Erie County.
At the Twin District Fire Company, an election inspector said more than 3,900 voters had already cast ballots as of 6 p.m., placing that district on track to easily approach 75 percent voter turnout.
That turnout would surpass even the predictions for Erie County as a whole.
“I think we’re going to be between 65 and 70. And we may go higher,” Lenihan said. “It’s hard to say.”