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Framingham ballots too wide, resulting in unfinished hand-count last night

Posted by Jaclyn Reiss  November 7, 2012 01:03 PM

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Some ballots used in Tuesday's election in Framingham were too wide for the automated machines to read, resulting in a tedious hand-count by town officials that was suspended at midnight and resumed Wednesday morning, according to the town clerk's office.

Hundreds of ballots were not accepted by machines in some Framingham polling centers, including Keefe Technical Regional School and the George P. King School, said Valerie Mulvey, Framingham town clerk.

"We caught it early in the day, but there was such a heavy turnout," Mulvey said. "There were a couple hundred ballots that needed to be hand-counted."

Mulvey said she suspended the counting at midnight, since many employees had been working since 6 a.m. that morning.

"We were too tired and and I was afraid we would make mistakes," she said. "This is important. These are votes."

Mulvey said the town has never encountered this problem before, and that the problem was solved by swapping out the defective ballots with a package of new ones.

Mulvey said she called the Massachusetts Secretary of State's office to report the incident.

"These are produced by the state, so I called them and left a message to make them aware of the fact," she said.

Framingham had an 81 percent voter turnout at the polls, bringing 27,861 people out to cast their ballot, compared to 74 percent in 2008, according to unofficial results from the town.

President Barack Obama won Framingham with 66 percent, or 18,340 votes, compared to Romney's 32 percent, or 8,938 votes. US Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren received 59 percent of the town's vote, while Scott Brown received 40 percent.

The town's majority voted for the Democratic candidate on each ticket. The majority narrowly voted "yes" for assisted suicide, and overwhelmingly "yes" for medicinal marijuana.

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Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com

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