Jefferson County Blames Glitch For Late Returns

STEUBENVILLE – Unofficial election night results show Jefferson and Harrison counties had the highest voter turnout for the 2012 presidential election among local counties in Ohio and West Virginia.

Jefferson County also was the last of the local counties to complete its ballot count, with final numbers not being reported there until after 2:30 a.m. Wednesday. Election officials blamed a computer glitch and a high number of early absentee ballots for the delay, and Jefferson County Board of Elections members are expected to meet soon to discuss election night issues.

Both Jefferson and Harrison counties had voter turnouts of 66 percent.

In Jefferson County, 32,870 of the 49,729 registered voters cast ballots. Included in the vote total were 10,029 absentee ballots, which would not upload into the election board’s computer database on election night, according to Mary Birkheimer, deputy director of elections.

Some of the absentee votes had been cast as paper optical scan ballots, and others were cast on touchscreen machines in the elections office, she said. Poll workers had the tallies for these votes, but the totals had to be merged with the ballots submitted on Election Day.

Election workers spent the night trying to manually load the absentee ballot data and merge it with the votes submitted on Election Day, she said.

“The board will be getting together to figure out just what happened,” she said.

The Jefferson County Board of Elections is to certify the official results of the election on Nov. 21.

In Harrison County, 7,010 of the 10,635 registered voters cast ballots for a 66 percent turnout.

Belmont County reported a turnout of 63 percent. Results there show 31,471 voted in the county, where 49,629 are registered.

A total of 5,196 voted in Monroe County, which has 10,462 registered voters. Turnout there was listed at 49.67 percent.

Among local counties in West Virginia, Brooke County had the highest turnout at 54 percent. Results show 9,469 voting and there are 17,512 registered voters.

Ohio County reported 17,874 of its 33,263 registered voters cast ballots. Voter turnout was 53.74 percent.

Tyler’s County’s voter turnout was reported at 53.69 percent. A total of 3,316 cast ballots, and there are 6,176 registered voters.

In Hancock County, 12,241 voted in Tuesday’s election, and the number of registered voters is listed at 23,618. Voter turnout was 51.83 percent.

And Wetzel County voter turnout in the election was 46.94 percent. There are 12,766 registered voters, and 5,992 cast ballots in the election.

Marshall County’s voter turnout was listed at 45.68 percent. A total of 10,119 voted Tuesday, and there are 22,151 registered voters.