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Aug 28, 2014 1:47 AM by Sam Salzwedel

Southern Arizona elections department having problems

COCHISE COUNTY - Election officials are having problems reporting results to the Arizona Secretary of State.

Every vote will count, and there are no worries about inaccurate results. Cochise County is just having problems sending its data to the state's reporting system, according to the interim elections director, Jim Vlahovich.

Vlahovich said nobody noticed the problem until after results were transmitted.

"There were more votes cast than registered voters in Tombstone," he said. "Then we got a call, I think, from the City of Benson. And then we started thinking, ‘We got a real problem here.'"

The entire country will be watching Arizona Congressional District 2 in November. The rematch between Ron Barber and Martha McSally is expected to be one of the closest House races in America. Last election, Barber beat McSally by less than 1 percent of the vote. Cochise County voters account for about 18 percent of the district.

"We certainly understand any frustrations out there," Vlahovich said. "Especially on the part of the candidates, but we are committed to resolving this as soon as we can."

County officials took the data to Graham County because it has the same system as Cochise County. They sent the results from there and had no problems.

The issue still has not been fixed in Cochise County.

The county has been using the vendor of its system at least 12 years, possibly longer, according to a county employee who said she worked in the department since 2002.

The state-approved system was tested on July 29 and worked well.

Sierra Vista's incumbent mayor, Rick Mueller, could not know for sure if he won his primary Wednesday afternoon.

"It causes a lot of angst and concern for the candidates as well as the constituents," Mueller said. "People deserve to know as soon as possible. Hopefully, this is a minor glitch, and the county will make the efforts to get it corrected."

The unofficial results are now posted through the Cochise County website.

The Board of Supervisors will make the results official in its meeting on September 4.

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