Ogden officials are blaming slow reports of votes in Tuesday's election on a breakdown in tabulation equipment.
Ogden city recorder Cindi Mansell said the autofeeders, which run optical-scan ballots through scanners, broke Tuesday night, meaning workers had to feed each of the city's 6,200 ballots through the machines. Then, a software glitch didn't allow the recorder's office to run both optical-scan machines at the same time.
So even though Ogden received all of its ballots at 9:30 p.m., it wasn't until after midnight that the first numbers were reported.
By 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, results were complete, showing that Councilman Jesse Garcia, who has served four terms — 16 years — on the Ogden City Council representing Municipal Ward 1, was defeated by challenger Neil Garner Tuesday.
Just 18 votes separated the men. Garner had 381, and Garcia had 363.
Incumbent Doug Stephens won his Municipal Ward Seat 3 handily with 808 votes over challenger Patrick Dean, who had 561 votes.
Returning to the Ogden City Council in January will be Susie Van Hooser, whose 3,577 votes topped Mark Hains' 2,551 votes for the council's At Large Seat A.
Van Hooser originally was appointed to the council in 2006 and challenged Ogden Mayor Matthew Godfrey's seat in 2007, but lost and had to vacate her seat on the council.
Bart Blair clinched an easy victory as an unopposed candidate for At Large Seat B after David Phipps, the top vote-getter in September's primary election, was disqualified for failing to file a financial disclosure statement on time.
Though Ogden residents had to wait until Wednesday morning for election results, the rest of the election went smoothly, and using the optical-scan ballots saved the city $60,000 over using electronic voting machines, Mansell said.
"We hoped this would be a better alternative," she said.
In most cities, results from paper ballots, optical-scan ballots and electronic voting machines were complete by 10:30 p.m.
But hindsight doesn't make Mansell automatically wish she had sprung for the more expensive machines.
"Sometimes, an X on paper is just as good," she said.
Election technology is constantly progressing, Mansell said, adding that she plans to evaluate new technologies over the next two years.
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