Voter response largely positive on the Suncoast

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SARASOTA - There were some issues here on the Suncoast today, as some ballot reading machines apparently malfunctioned at a polling place.

ABC 7 received calls from voters saying they could not scan their ballots at two locations in Sarasota County and one location in Manatee County.

One site in particular that we received several calls about was the polling location located at Sarasota Baptist Church on Proctor Road.

Concerned voters wondered whether or not it was right that they were placing ballots into a locked wooden box, instead of sending them through the scanning machines, because the machines were down.

We contacted Sarasota County Elections Supervisor Kathy Dent, who said that it is normal procedure and that every vote would still be counted. She also said they were seeing similar issues at several locations, mostly due to the fact that this is the first time we have seen a two-sheet ballot. “Sarasota Baptist was one where we had jams we replaced the scanner there and we sort of have gone through a training session with the poll workers. They’re letting the voters know hey, you have to give the first ballot time to drop into the box before you put the second one in, so that issue was sort of cleared up."

Any ballot that would not go through the machine will be scanned after the polls close to be counted. If it still doesn’t work, the ballot is taken to the canvassing board to be duplicated and then it will be processed.

Overall though, voter response was largely positive and that was reflected in what we were seeing on our ABC 7 Facebook page. The majority of the comments we were seeing spoke of little to no wait times at many locations. We did get some pictures submitted showing a few long lines, but overall people's comments were generally good-natured and positive

Another plus was that wait times seemed to be moderate and when a problem did arise it was taken care of quickly.