ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Following a technical difficulties delaying the release of election results, Monroe County Election Commissioners held a press conference Wednesday morning.
Monroe County Republican and Democratic Election Commissioners, Lisa Polito Nicolay and Jackie Ortiz, took to the podium to explain the issue.
In short, the commissioners explained that the system got overwhelmed ingesting more data than normal. As part of a new state law, early voting and absentee ballots were being counted along with Election Day voting. This slowed the release of results — but held no bearing on the tabulations.
In a typical election for Monroe County, results would start ticking in to their website shortly after the polls close at 9 p.m. But Tuesday night, candidates and voters alike spent over an hour and a half staring at empty graphs, with virtually no communication from the Board of Elections (BOE).
“We want to be clear: results are not in question,” Ortizs said. “This is simply the publishing of the results.”
“I can’t agree with my colleague, Commissioner Ortiz, more: The results are not in question,” Nicolay echoed. “Okay, we can’t be any clearer. The results are not in question.”
Shortly after 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, the BOE began issuing statements that their online reporting system was experiencing technical difficulties. They published “unofficial” results in the form of PDFs to their website, to get the data out fast.
But those too brought questions: Percentages were seen next to the names of candidates, but it was unclear how many ballots were counted or if early voting and absentee ballots were in the mix. Additionally many readers were confused over how many polling locations were counted in those PDFs.
Both commissioners stated repeatedly that the BOE’s top priority was sharing voter counts as soon as possible. While the PDFs were incomplete and unofficial, Ortiz said that the counts will be finalized and officiated the week of November 14 — which is normal procedure consistent with previous years.
Even when the online reporting system works smoothly, the results are considered unofficial in the days immediately after November 8.
Are the results accurate?
Both commissioners emphasized that, despite the hurdles in the release of results, the votes have been counted correctly, with all the regular checks and balances applied to ensure accuracy.
“Essentially, either it was too much data because we never tested that before, and/or the connectivity was not a wide enough bandwidth to accept that data and upload it,” Nicolay said.
Ortiz added that while tests had been done on the system, they had not been able to account for the volume of information received on Election Day.
“Every vote is 100% safe with us,” Nicolay said. “We have our original data, we have an electronic backup of data, we have paper ballots, and we also have tape. We essentially have four of all of the same data.”
As some candidates declared victory after midnight, a major candidate initially calling for an investigation. After Joe Morelle declared victory in the election for New York’s 25th Congressional District, Republican Nominee La’Ron Singletary initially disagreed. However, shortly after the press conference concluded, Singletary conceded, offering his “sincere and heart-felt congratulations” to Morelle.
Statement from Monroe County BOE:
“The Monroe County Board of Elections is pleased to report that the 2022 Election results, including all Election Day votes, all nine days of Early Voting and all Absentee Ballots received through Saturday November 5th, have been uploaded to its public reporting system on the County website.“
“After the close of polls at 9:00 pm on November 8th, results were collected, tabulated, and recorded as normal, and without problem. The timely upload of these results was delayed due to connectivity issues with the County website’s public reporting interface. Board of Elections and Monroe County Information Services staff were able to eventually resolve these issues and post full results for view by candidates, media and the public.“
“The Monroe County Board of Elections will continue to investigate the cause of the underlying connectivity issues related to the election night public reporting system and share its findings, to ensure full public transparency, and apologizes for the delay.“