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Results at Risk: Computer Glitch Delays Full Connecticut Election Outcome

News 8 Investigators

BRIDGEPORT, Conn (WTNH) — Late Wednesday evening, after most of the other offices in the city have closed for the day, the Registrar of Voters is still staffed.

Registrar of Voters and the Bridgeport’s head moderator were waiting for a call from the Secretary of State’s office offering a fix for a computer system error that has stopped them from reporting election results.

Using a new election management system, cities enter election results online and have them automatically added to the states tally. In Bridgeport, that website had candidates listed for wrong districts. The error was not caught by city staff until nearly 2:00 Wednesday morning.

They had to restart the process of entering more than 17,000 votes manually.

“We were entering the data and as I understand it, we got a majority of the way through entering the returns from the polling places and an error specific to Bridgeport cropped up in the program,” said Bridgeport Head Moderator Phil Smith. “In order to fix that, we would have to take down the [election result data] and start entering them again.”

Things got worse on Wednesday.

Staff spent more than three hours reentering election results before the states website again.

“It is frustrating,” said Bridgeport Republican Registrar Linda Grace. “We have done it not once but twice. The problem is with the Secretary of State’s system.”

Secretary of State Denise Merrill addressed the issue on Wednesday morning to reporters.

[Municipalities] were instructed to file the results by midnight,” said Merrill. “Some of them did not. And this is the first year we are using this election management system where everything is uploaded instantly and we have some work to do on it. It’s perhaps unfair to do it in a year where so many people came to vote  and I’m sure that’s the problem.”

They could be entering the data a third time if the Secretary of States online system wasn’t able to save the inputted election results. Bridgeport officials were waiting late Wednesday to find out if they would have to start over on Thursday morning.

Secretary of State Spokesman Patrick Gallahue said Wednesday evening that about 150 of Connecticut’s 169 towns had reported election results.

A News 8 review of the state’s election results webpage identified the following cities showing zero results as of Wednesday evening at 8:00 p.m.:

  • Bloomfield
  • Bridgeport
  • Coventry
  • Danbury
  • East Windsor
  • Ledyard
  • Manchester
  • Meriden
  • New Fairfield
  • Newtown
  • Stamford
  • Trumbull
  • Weston
  • Woodbury

Bridgeport officials said they were waiting for a followup from Secretary of State staff explaining a fix. State statute says election results must be posted by midnight on the day of the election. Many towns did not make that deadline, in part, to the new result entry system.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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