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Official: NC County Primary Results Wrong Due To Human Error

Photo: A voting ballot
Flickr Creative Commons/ Ken Zirkel

Unofficial primary results from one north-central North Carolina county were corrected on Thursday after a local elections worker incorrectly uploaded test results run earlier through voting equipment, the State Board of Elections said.

The test results were included with the early vote, absentee and primary-day ballot totals posted Tuesday night from Warren County on the State Board of Elections website, board attorney Katelyn Love said.

By late Thursday afternoon, following a meeting of the Warren County elections board, the complete results were replaced online, minus the test numbers. The updated numbers didn't appear to change outcomes of statewide and regional races, or the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries.

The county's posted results Tuesday raised questions because it showed voter turnout about 25 percentage points above the statewide rate. The county presidential primary results, for example, had showed more than 800 votes being cast in the Libertarian presidential primary, spread out over each of the 17 choices. But the updated results show only five Libertarian presidential votes were cast. The county vote turnout rate was actually 5.5 percentage points the statewide rate of 31%.

Warren County, located 55 miles (90 kilometers) northeast of Raleigh, has about 13,000 registered voters.

Warren County is one of seven North Carolina counties that used new elections equipment that include touch-screen ballot-marking devices and tally machines produced by Election Systems & Software. Human error — not the new equipment — is to blame for the misreporting, state board spokesman Pat Gannon said. He said there were many fail-safes to ensure the primary-day counts are recorded and can be double-checked before results become official later this month.

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