Dearborn County ballot scanners crippled when batteries fail 4 years early

Posted at 7:45 AM, May 09, 2018

DEARBORN COUNTY, Ind. -- Dozens of dead batteries left Dearborn County's ballot scanners useless for part of the day during Tuesday's primary.

The batteries are tied to memory packs, Clerk of Courts Gayle Pennington said. The failure affected 45 machines.

Pennington said she paid a little less than $200 out of pocket to buy replacement batteries, which she was able to find at a store in Ohio. The 3-volt batteries are about the size of a nickel.

Poll workers told voters to place their ballots in a secure bin until the machines were working again.

Pennington said she's confident all ballots cast were counted.

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The machines were tested and certified in November. The batteries were supposed to last five years, Pennington said -- but they didn't even last six months.

She was unsure how much the machines cost; she said the county got them in a deal arranged under the prior clerk of courts.

Pennington plans to meet with the vendor, Elections Systems and Software, later this month. The company is based in Omaha, Nebraska.