Horry County Election officials report technical issues with some mail-in ballot scanning

Updated: Nov. 4, 2020 at 6:23 PM EST
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CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - The polls closed in Horry County at 7 p.m. Tuesday, but nearly 24 hours later, votes were still being counted.

Horry County Director of Elections Sandy Martin said as of Wednesday afternoon, there were anywhere between 15,000 to 20,000 votes from mail-in absentee ballots that had yet to be counted in Horry County.

Martin said this delay is due to a technical issue. She said, after scanning all of the ballots Tuesday night, including mail-in ballots, they ran into a problem around 2 a.m. Wednesday.

“Once you read the ballot into the scanner it saved on a flash drive. And when we pull the flash drive and put it in our election night reporting system, it didn’t copy the information over. So we have a representative here from the company that’s trying to figure out what our issue is to save us from having to manual enter,” Martin said.

She said she isn’t too worried because they have a paper trail to keep track of votes.

She said since they are mail-in votes, they span many districts and races. These delays could change final numbers in many races with unofficial results but are unlikely to drastically change any one race.

“There’s about 15 to 20,000 votes in there, I don’t see that it’ll make a difference anywhere but, it will change the results some,” Martin said.

She added all races have unofficial results until they are able to certify them. This year, they’ll certify votes at 10 a.m. Friday.

Compared to years past, Martin said, they didn’t have as many problems at the actual precincts.

However, she said after the intense absentee turnout in-person and by mail this year, she would make changes in upcoming elections, in order to make things go smoother, and help avoid certain issues with absentee voting.

“I’ve been here a long time. And this is the most absentee ballots and absentee in-person that I’ve ever seen. It’s the biggest we’ve ever had. One of the main things that we would do is to take absentee away from this office and put it somewhere else. Because it was just so busy, my staff didn’t have time to do their work. So we’ve worked seven days a week, just trying to keep up. So if we had absentee here moved to a satellite location, that would help us tremendously,” Martin said.

Martin said she expects this issue to be fixed by the end of the day Wednesday.

WMBF News will update you when all votes in Horry County have been counted.

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