Election Result Delays Due To Data Transfer Difficulties | WYPR

Election Result Delays Due To Data Transfer Difficulties

Nov 4, 2020

Nikki Charlson at a State Board of Elections conference on Wednesday
Credit SCREENSHOT VIA MARYLAND STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS

Several jurisdictions, including Baltimore County, were not able to release results on election night. State Board of Elections officials say this was because of difficulties with transferring data from thumb drives. 

Local elections boards store data from ballot scanners on thumb drives, then transfer them to the state’s central voting database. 

Nikki Charlson, the board’s deputy administrator, said this isn’t a new process. But because of the pandemic, Maryland used voting centers on election day, rather than the usual precinct based polling places. That means the system had to adjust to different ballots from different precincts. 

“When we're precinct based, it's just looking for results from that precinct,” Charlson said. “When you move to vote center model, it needs to be able to accommodate ballots from any precinct in that county.” 

Each time a voting center does not have ballots from a precinct, it requires a manual confirmation process. That process and transferring data take eight to 10 minutes per thumb drive.

Charlson said the board will be working on getting results out Thursday.