Probe launched after ballot problems in St. Louis County -

Probe launched after ballot problems in St. Louis County

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The St. Louis County Board of Elections is conducting an audit to figure out what went so horribly wrong at dozens of polling stations Tuesday.

Thousands of voters had to be turned away because of a shortage of ballots or other ballot problems.

Only paper ballots were used because the director of elections, Eric Fey, said there wasn't enough time in between the presidential primary and the municipal election to get the machines ready. Fey says it was cost saving move that he stands by. 

"We obviously want to be fiscally responsible with taxpayer dollars. If we thought there would have been a way to get those touchscreens out, we would have done it. Having the staff work anymore than they did just wasn't the responsible choice to make," he says. 

But not everyone agrees. 

"We are kind of between a rock and a hard place but when it comes to voting and talk about budgets. We want to be responsible with budgets, but what is more important is the people's votes are heard whatever the cost," says 7th District County Councilman Mark Harder. 

In addition to discussing the cost, Harder also wants to have a special meeting open to the public to talk about what happened.

"We will try to investigate into what went out and find out exactly about the problems that happened and who was responsible and what we need to do to ensure the August and November ballot is handled properly," Harder said.

He says he started getting calls from not only voters, but people running for office on Tuesday, all wondering how could this be happening in this day of age? 

"We are so sophisticated in other areas yet the simplest type of ballot, a paper ballot has these problems. I am very upset about that," says Harder. 

Fey hopes the answer will come out sooner rather than later. 

"We are just putting our nose to the grindstone, conducting an extreme audit of what happened and putting controls in place going forward," says Fey. 

Chairman Mike O’Mara says no date has been set yet for the special meeting, but anticipates it to take a couple of weeks before it is scheduled.

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