Duval County elections official explains process when ballot scanner breaks down

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Before you head out to vote, don’t forget to check your precinct, have a valid form of ID ready, and review what will be on your ballot.

Duval County Chief Elections Assistant Robert Phillips said voters can get answers to their questions from the Duval County Elections Center by calling 904-255-8683.

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Phillips said all polling locations opened on time Tuesday, and the busiest times are typically early in the morning and then in the evening from 5-7 p.m. He suggested going midday, if possible, but reminded voters that they must vote at their correct precinct on Election Day.

If you live in Duval County, some precincts might have changed since the last time you voted. You can double-check your precinct at DuvalElections.com.

Phillips acknowledged that his workers had heard from some voters at a precinct Tuesday morning who were concerned because a scanning machine wasn’t working and they were being asked to place their ballots in a “box” instead.

“We don’t want anyone to be alarmed about that. It is just a machine. Sometimes the internal components of the machine will break down. But we do have procedures for that,” Phillips explained.

He said “rovers” will bring new equipment to the precinct so that voting can continue.

And those who had to put their ballot into the secure emergency slot can return at 7 p.m. to watch their ballot being fed into the fixed machine.

“Every vote will be cast,” Phillips said. “And they will be cast on that tabulator. That is part of our standard procedure. It does happen frequently. That’s why we have a standard procedure for it.”

He acknowledged recent concerns of voter fraud and said that’s why he wanted to reassure voters because he understands the public perception about the procedure might be wrong.

“Transparency is always key. And our accountability is key so that we know how many ballots have been cast at that precinct,” Phillips said. “They are not being disposed of. It’s not a trick. Nobody is trying to take your vote away from you.”

Phillips said it’s just an unfortunate aspect of technology that some machines break -- despite being tested before use on Election Day.

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