Area election watchers were carping about slow returns on the Louisiana Secretary of State's website in the wake of the citywide mayoral primary on Feb. 1, but Meg Casper, a spokesperson for Secretary Tom Schedler's office, said the delay was not the Secretary of State's fault.
Casper contacted Gambit to explain that the 46-minute delay between the close of polls and the first official results was due to a quirk in Orleans Parish: Unlike most other parishes, the city's Board of Supervisors of Elections office and the Clerk of Court's office are not in the same building. The former is in New Orleans City Hall; the latter is headquartered inside the Criminal District Court at Tulane Avenue and South Broad Street.
Since vote-counting machines are never connected to the Internet in order to avoid tampering (or accusations of tampering), the cartridges bearing the voting results have to be driven across town and then read at the Clerk's office before results can be transmitted to Baton Rouge, when they are then posted.
"From our perspective, it went really smoothly," Casper said, adding that the Secretary of State's website never went down. On the night of the 2012 presidential race, the website had 18 million hits; on Feb. 1, the total was 100,000. — KEVIN ALLMAN