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County: Entering results election night ‘isn’t perfect’

Inaccuracies, hacking concerns and staff stress are causing Warren County officials to look at how election results are reported on election night.

Commissioner Jeff Eggleston brought the issue before the commissioners at Monday’s work session.

“The system that we had has been manageable,” he said, but has been “not good. It creates a degree of stress for the staff.”

He explained that two to four individuals are required to manually enter the data onto the site.

“None of the information is official,” Eggleston said. “(It’s) never official information. What happens is the system isn’t perfect” and data can be entered incorrectly.

“The entire process is there to accommodate the public’s fascination for about 45 minutes when numbers are coming in,” he continued. “I totally understand everyone’s interest in that… What I want to do is not have that system anymore.”

He proposed that Elections Director Lisa Rivett compile the results into one document which is posted as a PDF on election night.

“For everybody on this side, it would be less stressful, more efficient and more accurate,” Eggleston said. “We’re one of the only counties in the state that has real-time reporting. I used to think that was a thing to be prideful in, (and I) think it is, (but it) has gotten to be more of a liability than a benefit.”

Commissioner Ben Kafferlin said he is “very conscientious of the hacking possibility.”

He noted that the election website is “completely separated” from the county’s website.

“It wouldn’t be hard if you knew what you were doing to hack the system,” Eggleston said.

Kafferlin asked if there would be a way for live returns to be displayed at the courthouse for those who would be interested to come and watch. That’s something the county has provided previously but not in recent years.

“We could do that, too,” Eggleston said

Eggleston said he’d like to convert the site at warrenvotes.com to “a legitimate election website,” or an “election hub.

“We’ve got all that data there,” he said, noting the effort would be “trying to get more into out to the public in one spot.”

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