By Elise Ackerman, San Jose Mercury News, 03/04/04
Significant delays in opening the polls in Alameda and San Diego counties were reported Tuesday morning. Then, as the hours ticked away on Election Night, San Bernardino reported trouble with its vote-counting software. Final results were not ready until 5:30 a.m. Wednesday.
The delay in San Bernardino contributed to the uncertainty Tuesday about the outcome of the statewide vote over Proposition 55. Ultimately, the school-bond measure passed by a margin of a little more than 1 percent.
In Orange County, an electronic system made by Hart InterCivic functioned properly but poll workers confused by the complexity of the primary gave voters the wrong ballots, jeopardizing the outcome of several local races.
Scott Konopasek, the registrar of voters of San Bernardino, said an unanticipated problem with the memory capacity of the vote-counting computer marred an otherwise uneventful election.
``There was no problem with the hardware, there was no problem with the software, there was no problem with the polling-place operation,'' Konopasek said. But the last-minute creation of the 3.3 million-record tallying database, which tracked the 24,000 ballot permutations used in the county, caused the vote-counting computer to go into an endless processing loop.
Konopasek said it took him several hours to figure out what was wrong. ``I was very surprised and embarrassed,'' he said.