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Vote tabulators overheat at Middletown polling places: Officials

Town officials are monitoring other polling places closely and no other issues have arisen so far.

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. — Machines used in the voting process at several polling places in Middletown malfunctioned due to overheating, voting officials told FOX61 News on Tuesday.

A vote tabulator at the Spencer School on Westfield Street has been malfunctioning due to the heat, according to the city's Republican Register of Voters David Bauer. The school building is not air-conditioned.

Since turnout is low for these primary elections, fewer than 75 ballots have been affected, officials said.

RELATED: Who is running in Connecticut primaries?

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Bauer said Thursday, two days after the election, that about 70% of the tabulators failed on Election Day. Out of nine polling places four did not have air conditioning, and a fifth was warmer than expected because the cooling system was turned on after the day started heating up.

Bauer reiterated that he believes the problem with the machines was due to the heat, which reached 90 degrees in the buildings.  FOX61 viewers reported issues at Spencer and Wesley schools.

Guidance from the Secretary of the State's office during the afternoon on Tuesday, according to Bauer, confirmed that officials could hand count ballots if necessary. 

Ballots were placed in a separate area of the tabulator, and fed through a back up tabulator after the polls closed. Bringing in the machine earlier in the afternoon would run the risk of that machine overheating, officials said.

In some cases, ballots for the Republican Primary in Middletown were hand counted. Bauer said Democrats outnumber Republicans in town by three to one, so there were less GOP ballots to count. 

Despite the issues brought on by the heat, polling officials were able to submit their results by the state deadline. 

Bauer said they plan on evaluating what caused the problems for the tabulators and have them squared away by the general election in November. 

RELATED: What is a primary election and who can vote in Connecticut's?

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