So I just got back to Chicago last night, March 28th. Here's a sampling of the news about the Chicago primaries, which were held March 21st:
• The largest jurisdictions in Illinois, Chicago and Cook County, encountered problems in the March 21 primary. In some cases, precinct election judges didn't get hands-on training before the election. There were paper jams, misplaced memory cartridges containing election results and long delays in counting. - USA Today
• City election officials finished tallying primary ballots from the final 24 precincts Tuesday, a week after the election was thrown into disarray by mechanical and human failures connected to new voting machines. - Chicago Sun Times
• Chicago election officials were told Tuesday that they can legally withhold payments to Sequoia Voting Systems, but only if they can prove the California company failed to live up to the terms of its contract.
Short of that, members of the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners were warned by their lawyer to watch what they say about the equipment manufacturer.
Chicago and Cook County officials have acknowledged a lack of training for election judges who faced the daunting task of using a new and complex system in last week's primary. But they have also previously pointed fingers at Sequoia, saying the firm did not perform adequately.
- Chicago Tribune
• The chairman of the Chicago City Council Finance Committee calls the primary election ballot count "a debacle" - and he says the city should withhold payment from the company that supplied the machines.
"A debacle." "An embarrassment." "A disgrace."
Those are the words of City Council Finance Committee Chairman Ed Burke, who says the city shouldn't pay Sequoia, the maker of the voting machines, until the city finds out exactly what went wrong and why the votes are still being counted.
"Here it is a week later and we still don't know the results of the election," Burke said. "There's something wrong. It's obvious. It's clear. Ray Charles could see there's something wrong here."
The Chicago Board of Elections also is ready to withhold payment from Sequoia while the city investigates the slow vote count, trying to find out if the problem was bad machines, bad training or just a steep learning curve the first time around. -WBBM Newsradio 780