Voting machines left unattended at poll site

2010-10-28T00:55:00Z 2012-04-04T13:01:47Z Voting machines left unattended at poll siteCathy Allred - Daily Herald Daily Herald
October 28, 2010 12:55 am  • 

LEHI -- Nine voting machines were left unsecured in an office building overnight in northwest Lehi.

"There are hundreds of locations that they go to, it's not unexpected that this would happen," said Utah elections director Mark Thomas. He said there was a case about two years ago when voting machines were left unattended for a few days at the Utah State Capitol after an election.

"There are a lot of moving parts, a lot involved," he said of preparing for Election Day.

Phil Windley, who served as chief information officer for former governor Mike Leavitt, saw the machines loaded on two push carts in the lobby when he left from his Kynetx work office in Thanksgiving Point Business Park on Tuesday.

"This morning, I went to lunch and they were still there," Windley said during a phone interview on Wednesday. "I was surprised."

He photographed the unprotected machines and posted the photo online.

"There is the obvious issue of tampering, but someone could just come in and steal one," Windley said. "It's a little surprising that someone left them in the lobby."

Windley said he later called the Utah County Clerk's office to let them know about the machines left in the lobby. "'We just drop them off; the building is in charge of locking them up,'" he said was the clerk's response.

Utah County chief deputy clerk-auditor Scott Hogensen appeared to feel differently than the anonymous clerk about the situation. After learning of the unsecured machines from the Daily Herald, he checked to make sure the machines were locked up in a building conference room, Hogensen said, and will have them replaced before the election on Tuesday.

Either way, vote tampering would have been impossible to do, he said.

"The memory cards that have the election information on them are not in the machines," he said. "Everything is all sealed up so that election judges will be able to tell if there was tampering."

Utah County has worked with Thai Properties in the past several years to use the Thanksgiving Point Business Park building as a polling location. As with previous elections, Thai Properties agreed to allow the county to host next week's precinct voting at its Lehi building, according to Jeff Chandler, Thai Properties spokesman.

"With the understanding that the county was to advise property management when the machines were delivered," Chandler said. "In this instance, a lack of notification left property management uninformed. As soon as Thai Properties became aware of the situation, it immediately took action to secure the machines in accordance with county voting procedure."

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