Pinellas Sup. of Elex Deborah Clark explains Election Night modem issues

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Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark asked the county’s Business Technology Services Department (BTS) to help determine the root cause of the modeming issue that occurred Primary Election night, and she received the following explanation from BTS Executive Director Paul Alexander:

When attempting to upload the election results from the 234 ballot scanners at the polling places to the main servers, a hardware failure occurred on a telecommunications gateway device that prevented the upload from occurring.  As a result, the USB drives containing election results were brought to the Election Service Center, where they could be uploaded to the tabulation network. This is the same process that would have taken place had the telecommunications system been successful.

Prior to the election, the system was tested and found in working order.  It is unknown if the failure was due to a manufacturing defect or a result of a momentary power interruption that occurred earlier in the day.

The issue was resolved this week by replacing the defective unit and ordering an additional unit for backup at the Election Service Center. A third unit is also available at the Clearwater Courthouse in the event that telecommunications systems need to be redirected. These steps to increase the level of redundancies as well as plans for additional testing will help avoid this type of issue in future elections.

“We appreciate the services of the county’s BTS Department,” Clark said, “and we are confident that this matter is resolved moving forward.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.