'It was Human Error'

Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Just after 8:00 p.m. at the Missoula County Election Center, Elections Administrator Bradley Seaman stood before a gaggle of reporters and election observers and gave us the bad news about getting the first election results.

“As we were running our initial preliminary release of results, one of the very first steps that we do is we make sure that the number of ballots we have recorded by the system matches the number of ballots coming out on the report from our compiling system,” began Seaman. “We noticed that those numbers didn't align. We confirmed that indeed, our test results from last week's test have remained in the system, so we are clearing out all of those test results. We have updated results from our system, and then we're going to recompile those and have those available at the 10:00 p.m. result report.”

Their Goal is Always 100 Percent Accuracy

Because election reporting is a complicated issue, Seaman said every effort is made to ensure accurate results.

“What we're always working on is a system of checks and balances in elections,” he said. “And as we go through this step, what we noticed was that when we are pulling reports before we put them out for public consumption, we make sure that they're accurate and get a match. As soon as we noticed that discrepancy in the number of ballots, it directly aligns with the number of tests ballots that were run previously. So we're going to clear all results, run new reports from our system, and then load all of those reports in so that we have an accurate and clear number from this election.”

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Seaman said the initial hiccup in the computer system will be dealt with by the midnight report at the latest.

“Each time that we run one of those it takes about 45 minutes for the system to load and compile them together so we're working on that right now,” he said. “As soon as we noticed that error we pulled them out and we got them going. We're going to try and make sure that we have as much together by our 10:00 p.m. results and but come midnight it will be like this never even happened.”

'To Err is Human'

KGVO asked the question ‘was this a computer malfunction or human error?’ Seaman answered truthfully.

“This is a human error,” he said. “Almost every error we have in an election is a human error. Humans are not as good at repetitive tasks as our equipment is, and so that's where we come through here. My apologies to everybody and the current results are getting photocopied so we will have those results for you. Nothing is finalized until we go through our provisional count canvas and post election audit.”

As KGVO News reported, the Election Center will close at around midnight, and will reopen to continue the count at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday. The Election Center is being monitored by video surveillance overnight.

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