Wayne County commissioner wants probe into election results system

Nicquel Terry Ellis
The Detroit News
A website glitch prevented Wayne County primary election results to be known.

A Wayne County commissioner is calling for an investigation into the system used by the Wayne County Clerk's Office to report results in Tuesday's primary election. 

Commission Vice-Chair Pro Tempore Jewel Ware said glitches with the results website Tuesday night were "extremely problematic as the voting process should be error free as well as voters should know the process is without issues.”

Wayne County officials and ElectionSource, the company that handles election results reporting, said the glitch caused a delay in results after the website received more data than ElectionSource anticipated. 

"I received phone calls from people who were concerned,” Ware said. “Then, after hours of reporting, the system came back and those numbers had decreased. It just wasn’t one number — it was several numbers."

"The Wayne County Clerk's Elections Department has a long-standing tradition of operating with integrity and a high-level commitment to competency," said county clerk Cathy M. Garrett. "We immediately requested an investigation from the website vendor ElectionSource and a report of their findings. I appreciate and welcome the support in Commissioner Ware also asking for an investigation into the ElectionSource website issue."

Jeffrey DeLongchamp, president of the Grand Rapids-based ElectionSource, said Wednesday that the file containing Wayne County results was so large that it caused a 15-second delay in processing old and new data. This caused results to be doubled at times, he said. 

"There were so many hits and so many people trying to scrape the site at the same time that we could not load the data correctly," DeLongchamp said. "It was an error that, unfortunately, we did not foresee."

Wayne County officials said in an earlier statement that election staff "worked extensively" to see that the transition to ElectionSource would go smoothly.

ElectionSource has helped Wayne County report its election results since last November's election, DeLongchamp said.

Williams-Jackson told The Detroit News earlier this week that there was nothing wrong with the ballot tabulations but that an issue with the vendor's server and web display was causing results reporting fluctuations. 

Ware said election results glitches discourage residents from voting. 

“While on one hand, we’re trying to promote the vote and get people out to vote, we have a lot of citizens that watch TV, listen to the radio and see all this nonsense going on and they become hesitant to vote," Ware said. "When I talk to young people walking in my community, the main statement they make is, ‘Our vote don’t count.’"