A bad battery about the size of a nickel caused a roughly seven-hour delay in the reporting of Baker County’s election results last week and exposed how small oversights can have big impacts when they occur on election night.
Everything was going fine, Supervisor of Elections Nita Crawford said, until about 4:30 pm when her staff began setting up to download early voting totals, which are usually the first results announced after polls close at 7 pm.
That’s when elections staff discovered a small battery manufactured by Sony, which powers the memory card storing early voting results, was dead, and the information was lost.
“We said well, we have to re-run all the early voting ballots,” the elections supervisor said the following day. “We go in there and get three [voting] machines going, putting ballots in. That took us up until about 7:30.”
The election night glitch was a first for Ms. Crawford and her two full-time employees, plus the county’s IT manager, who assists during elections. The office is well known for processing election results quickly. In fact, Baker County is usually the first of Florida’s 67 to report its totals to the Florida Division of Elections in Tallahassee.