Home>Highlight>In New Hampshire election, coronavirus hand sanitzer breaks ballot scanner

An election official inspects a contested ballot during a recount of the 2000 presidential election in Florida. Photo: Facebook.

In New Hampshire election, coronavirus hand sanitzer breaks ballot scanner

By David Wildstein, March 11 2020 4:16 pm

In New Hampshire on Tuesday, ballot scanners became clogged when an alcohol-based disinfectant voters used to clean their hands broke down the paper ballots, according to a report in the Eagle-Tribune.

Atkinson Town Clerk Julianna Hale told the newspaper that concerns about the coronavirus were to blame.

Windham Town Clerk Nicole Bottai told the Eagle-Tribune that voters were making ballots wet “with either wipes or the actual hand sanitizer.”

“They are putting it through the machine and making it jammed,” Bottai said.

Hale said that that small fragments of the ballots were getting jammed in rollers of the machine uses to read them.

“The disinfectant is weakening the paper structure,” she said. “People are freaking out about it, but you can’t put in a moist ballot.”

In Salem, Town Clerk Susan Wall said that elections officials “had a couple of issues with the boxes because of hand sanitizer,” the report said.

“They needed to swap out two machines because of paper jams,” Wall said.

New Jersey uses a different type of voting machine that does not include counters, but the same issue could affect provisional ballots in upcoming elections.

The next scheduled election is a special referendum in Atlantic City to change the form of government.

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