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San bernardino county blames human error for delay { March 3 2004 }

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San Bernardino County blames human error for delay in vote tally

1:30 a.m. March 3, 2004

SAN BERNARDINO San Bernardino County's transition to full electronic voting ran smoothly until it came time to tally the votes.

San Bernardino County Registrar Scott Konopasek said the computer program took much longer to load than officials had expected. After running absentee results, hours passed without any more ballots being counted.

Konopasek said he started the initialization process 30 minutes after polls closed at 8 p.m. but said he should have started hours earlier.

"It's very embarrassing," Konopasek said. "It was a mistake on our part based on our lack of experience ... It will never happen again."

He blamed human error and a lack of experience with the county's new electronic voting system, which replaced punch-cards.

"Because of the size and complexity of the election, we didn't have a good basis for estimating how long it would take the system to get to its ready state, and we were unprepared," Konopasek said.

Vote tallies begin trickling early Wednesday morning. The delay would not affect the accuracy of the results, the registrar said.

Tuesday marked the first time electronic touch-screen voting machines had been used in a countywide election in San Bernardino. Sequoia Voting Systems representative Veronica Spencer said the company's 3,800-machine voting system had functioned properly.

Candidates said they were upset by the delay.

"I probably won't be sleeping," said David Pruitt, a candidate for the 62nd Assembly District. "This is a little bit surreal. It feels like Florida all over again, only in San Bernardino County."

On the Net:

San Bernardino County Registrar:

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