On Tuesday, as area Newton County precincts to turn in their voter ballots at the clerk’s office, a machine malfunction caused the tabulation to cease for about an hour and a half.

“The memory pack reader, the motor just quit in it,” Newton County Clerk Kay Baum said. “That is the first time ever that we have had a problem with it. It always worked perfectly.”

The instance occurred around 8:30 p.m., when only nine of the 25 precincts were counted.

“We were going to meet the vendor from Springfield, we were going to meet in the middle [of the route], but I called Jasper County and they were getting close to finishing so we waited for them to finish,” she said. “Then we got their memory pack reader because they have the same equipment, they brought it back here.”

Around 10 p.m., the clerk’s office was back in order of getting the final numbers out to media representatives and those who were waiting to see the results.

“It only took a few seconds to read them,” Baum said.

Of the 39,229 registered voters in Newton County, 9,030 residents voted. That is 23.02 percent.
“I think that it was 26 percent [turnout] two years ago,” said Baum.