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Election counting took all night in Gwinnett

Gwinnett's election glitches didn't end in the morning, when four polls opened late for Tuesday's primary election.

The electronic voting machines caused problems into the night.

Elections Supervisor Lynn Ledford said the problem was with Diebold modems, causing many of the poll managers to have problems with transmitting information from polling locations.

After 10 or 15 precincts reported problems, elections officials told all of them to try transmitting once and then pack the equipment and bring it to the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center.

There, workers had to manually load all of the cards with voting tallies into the system - which took hours.

The final results weren't in until 2 a.m. Wednesday.

After the results are certified Friday night, Ledford said the county's information technology people will meet with the Diebold IT people to get the situation straightened out.

With the Aug. 8 runoff less than three weeks away, Ledford said she isn't sure if all of the problems can be solved.

But after that election, the county office is moving to the new Central Services Facility, which is a converted former Wal-Mart a few miles from the justice center.

There, the office will increase from 24 modems to 40, which Ledford said should help.

"It will allow results to come in faster," she said. "We'll do whatever we can to get it fixed by the November election."

Turnout game

Ledford said she was surprised that only 18 percent of the electorate came to the polls Tuesday, but she noted that the numbers were even lower in the 2000 primary season, when only 14.89 percent cast ballots. And that was even in a presidential year.

The Aug. 8 runoff is likely to have an even sparser crowd, with lower profile secretary of state, agriculture commissioner and lieutenant governor primaries still to be decided.

Gwinnett's only local race is round 2 for Kevin Kenerly, who is trying for a fourth term as the commissioner for District 4. He'll face young attorney Jodie Rosser, who pulled in 34 percent of the vote compared to his 39 percent.

Barrow County also has runoffs for commission and school board seats.

Turnout, Ledford said, "depends on how much door-knocking people do."

Super Bowl revisited

The phrase has mostly been used in jest for the past two decades, but for Clay Cox, the line rang true.

"Mr. Cox, you won a second term to the General Assembly. What are you going to do now?"

"I'm going to Disney World."

Cox didn't get the question during Tuesday's election night festivities, but he did deliver the line, famous from Super Bowl commercials of yester-year (or the 1980s).

Actually, the question that spurred that response was about his threat to sue challenger Woody Woodruff if he didn't retract statements made in campaign fliers about Cox writing legislation to cover up malfeasance of his probation company.

Wooruff has stood behind the mailers, but Cox was still triumphant in Tuesday's Republican primary.

When he got the question, Cox said he would worry about the lawsuit when he got back from a trip to see Mickey Mouse with his wife and two young sons.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.