Upshur County voters delayed after voter verification program glitch

Upshur County voters delayed after voter verification program glitch
Upshur county is extending voting hours for election day to 8 p.m. due to technical difficulties with polling equipment. (Source: Arthur Clayborn (KLTV))

UPSHUR COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - Due to technical difficulties, Upshur County is extending its voting hours from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. For a couple of hours Tuesday morning, the glitch brought voting to a halt countywide when the polls first opened. It had to do with a piece of equipment to verify voter registration, not the voting equipment itself, officials say.

Phil Hollier Sr. of Upshur County was ready to vote at 7 a.m., but was informed by poll workers that he couldn’t just yet.

“They said they were having some technical difficulties, and then later on they came back out and said it was statewide technical difficulties,” Hollier said.

The Upshur County Elections Administration office fielded many phone calls about not being able to vote, and the 115th District Court issued an order extending voting to 8pm.

The technical issue was resolved within a couple hours.

“I stood in line as long as I could and went home, then came back and voted because it’s all okay now. They took care of the problem,” Hollier said.

And even though the Upshur County Courthouse is not presently a polling place, the problems caught the attention of State Representative incumbent Jay Dean and Congressional Texas District 1 candidate Hank Gilbert.

“I literally saw it on some Facebook posts, so that’s why I wanted to get around to the polling places make sure things are running smoothly, and they are,” Dean said.

Gilbert was concerned about elderly voters who like to vote on Election Day.

“You know, what I’m afraid of is a lot of those people came out this morning and tried to vote early and weren’t able to because the machines weren’t working and they went back home. And the likelihood of them getting back out a second time in the same day is probably very, very small,” Gilbert said.

The election administration office later explained the iPad device used to verify voter registration was the problem. Election Administrator Lory Harle says the company called Knowink who supplied the verification equipment, told her there was a statewide glitch that caused the issue.

The Office of the Secretary of the State then notified Upshur County that any votes cast after the regular allotted time, which is 7 p.m., must be cast as a provisional vote.

Knowink did not return two requests for a statement.

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