Clean up glitches in KC and Missouri election offices
The Kansas City Star
Primary election night was more suspenseful than it should have been for many people with a stake or an interest in Missouri races.
The Secretary of State’s office had problems with new computer software. Many frustrated citizens were unable to view accurate returns online as the numbers were reported from around the state.
Even if the system in Jefferson City had run smoothly, there would have been a delay getting results from Kansas City. Candidates in close races had to wait until well after 10 p.m. to get an accurate sense of what was happening.
The problem was two-fold, said Shawn Kieffer, one of two directors of the Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners.
The lengthy ballot proved too much for a new website, and the office was unable to show accurate partial results as they came in. Also, the staff had problems loading several memory cards, possibly because they’d been exposed to extreme temperatures that day. That forced officials to release complete results much later than usual.
These glitches are worrisome, with a much bigger election coming up in November. Ballots will be longer. Many more people will be voting and tuning into the official websites to track the results of the presidential election plus dozens of state and local races.
Secretary of State Robin Carnahan said her staff was working to streamline the new system and guard against more problems. “Until this is running smoothly through several elections, we’re going to have a lot of contingency plans in place,” she said. “We will get this back up to the level of service that people expect of us and that we expect to provide.”
That needs to be the case in Kansas City as well.
New computer systems can be tricky. But the election offices must find ways to work out the bugs and ensure a smooth performance in November.