New statewide system delays online posting of election data

For those who sat at the edges of their seats in tense anticipation of Tuesday’s elections results, there was what probably felt like a long, agonizing wait.

“I was on pins and needles and a lot of other people were too,” said Oak Harbor Mayor Bob Severns.

The Island County Elections office had the results shortly after 8 p.m., said Michelle Reagan, county election supervisor. This year, the secretary of state’s office implemented a statewide posting system so counties don’t host the results on their individual systems.

Even though the county uploaded the results at around 8:15 p.m., the numbers didn’t show up online until nearly 10 p.m.

“The numbers were all good, the file was good,” said Reagan. “There was not a problem with the results not showing accurately, it just took a little longer.”

However, people tracking statewide results may have noticed other counties’ results were uploaded almost immediately. The delays for Island County and others related to web display issues associated with ballot ordering, according to Kylee Zabel, communications director for the secretary of state’s office.

Some counties didn’t complete their ballot setup in the system prior to election night, Zabel said, and the office had to manually reconfigure the results data, which delayed the posting. Results may have still shown up in a different order than on the ballot, but they were accurate.

“Whenever you launch a new system, you anticipate a learning curve,” said Zabel.

She said there will continue to be “fine-tuning” so the next election might go more smoothly.

The system, called VoteWA, is meant to strengthen cybersecurity of election data, according to a press release. It also contains the state’s voter registration database, which allowed the state to effectively implement the new same-day registration, automatic voter registration and future voter program laws that took effect this year, the release states.

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