‘Calamity of errors’ caused results delay in Montgomery municipal elections

‘Calamity of errors’ caused results delay in Montgomery municipal elections
Montgomery election workers unload a truck load of voting machines. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Secretary of State John Merrill admitted he was beginning to wonder Tuesday night what in the world was going on: no election returns in a timely manner after the polls closed at 7 p.m. in Montgomery.

“A level of discomfort that led them (citizens) to believe that something nefarious could be going on," said Merrill.

Wednesday, workers unloaded a truck load of voting machines. Under normal circumstances, Montgomery residents would have seen some results by 7:45 or 8.

But Darryl Parker says a “calamity of errors” was behind it all. In two precincts, poll workers apparently pulled out the thumb drives in the voting machines too early.

“The sticks had been taken out of the tabulators before the information could be completed downloaded," said Parker who is the Montgomery County Election Center Director.

And then there was the faulty printer at election central.

“And we had to wait for them to bring us a printer from Birmingham," said Parker.

David Woods, who made the run-off with Stephen Reed for mayor, found it all too troubling.

“Looks like we have some serious organizational issues," said Woods.

Reed, on the other hand, has taken a ‘wait and see’ approach before responding in depth. It should be noted Reed is Montgomery County’s probate judge and it was Reed who hired Darryl Parker.

Parker and Montgomery city clerk Brenda Blalock insisted there was nothing criminal, no wrong doing and the final results for all candidates in all races never changed; just human error and a misbehaving printer behind the delay.

“The workers were a little tired probably," said Parker.

Parker says precinct poll workers in Montgomery County are the lowest paid in the state with each one receiving $100 per election.

With the run-off less than two months away, Darryl Parker says they learned a lesson.

“We’re always learning," he said.

Merrill says his office will continue to investigate. He said he had planned meetings Wednesday with election officials on the matter.

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