By Jack King: CNJ STAFF WRITER
Elections officials in two other New Mexico counties and a computer specialist with the state Bureau of Elections reported problems Wednesday with Insight voting machines similar to the problems Curry County officials encountered Tuesday night.
A new state law requires county officials to report vote totals by precinct and canvassed, but Curry County officials said they tried to hurry up Tuesday’s counting process by having the new machines total votes by Legislative districts, a process called “super precincting.”
Chief Deputy Clerk Coni Jo Lyman said officials at Ink Impressions, the Rio Rancho-based company that provided the Insight machines, told her the machines were capable of counting both ways. But when county personnel attempted to get the super-precinct totals from the machines, the numbers were wrong. Election workers wound up counting the vote by precinct, which took extra time and labor.
Ink Impressions president Terry Rainey denied Wednesday there is any problem with the machines or the “super-precincting” process.
“The super-precincting process was a convenience feature added so that counties would have fewer numbers to accumulate to get totals on election night. They were told to use it, if they desired, but that they would have to canvass the results by precinct,” he said.
Rainey said some counties decided to get Insight machines with the super-precincting feature and some did not.
Asked for the names of those counties that received super precincting, he replied, “I have no information on that, I’m afraid.”
“The counties would have to explain what their problems were. I haven’t spoken to the counties to explain it to you,” he added.
State Bureau of Elections computer specialist Steve Fresquez said Wednesday his director, Denise Lamb, briefed him on a problem with Insight machines before she went home for the day.
“The machines have a protective counter that records all the votes cast on them. That counter was reading transactions incorrectly and advancing extra numbers,” he said.
Fresquez said he did not have a list of all the counties that got Insight machines.
Colfax County Clerk Barbara Castillo said she and her staff were up until 2:30 a.m. Wednesday counting totals, because of problems with the Insight machines.
Mari Langford, supervisor of elections in Dona Ana County, said her office had problems with the Insight machines in early voting, but used different machines for later voting in the primary.
“Protective counter numbers were not what they should have been. Four out of five sites were not ‘incrementing’ correctly for super precinct totals,” she said.
Dona Ana County District Attorney Susana Martinez, who ran unopposed in the primary, said she wouldn’t challenge the primary results. But she objected to using the Insight machines in early voting after they produced faulty numbers in their public certification, she said.