At 8:50 p.m. last Tuesday, Tamitha Blocker may have been the happiest person in Madison County.

The Madison County clerk had just overseen the first election returns using the new voting equipment. Ballots from all five voting centers had been received at the courthouse, the thumb drives were put in a central computer, and the results were printed out.

At 8:50 p.m., all the hard work leading up to the Primary Election had a sweet ending. You could see the relief on Blocker’s face, as well as other county election officials.

“Before 9 o’clock, that is awesome. Just unbelievable,” Blocker said as the final vote totals were read.

The county went to new voting machines this year because, one, the money became available from the state, and two, the old machines were on life support. Numerous counties in Arkansas switched to the new machines this year.

“The longest thing is just getting the polls closed up and driving in. Very fast results. Overall I think things went really well today. We didn’t have hardly any trouble and the poll workers seemed to like it. They said most of the voters seemed to like it. I’m extremely pleased with how it went. A lot of work went in it, so I’m very glad everything went off well.”

A lot of hard work took place the night before and the day after last Tuesday’s election. You could see Blocker and others on Wednesday as they brought the new equipment back from the five voting centers.

Well done, everyone.

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Things on election day did not go as well in other parts of the country. Locations in California and Texas had nightmares last Tuesday.

According to National Public Radio, “Hervis Rogers has two jobs, and couldn’t get to his Texas polling site until just before its closing time Tuesday night. Six hours later, after midnight, he cast his ballot. He was due back at work at 6 a.m., but said, ‘I wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t vote.’”

In Los Angeles, people also waited for hours in line to vote. In addition, new voting machines had operational errors. The city just went to a new election system, its first in more than 50 years.

The new system cost $300 million. Part of the change also did away with neighborhood polling places and introduced regional vote centers.

The Los Angeles Times reported, “Voters seemed to like the ballot-marking devices when they worked. The machine allows choices to be made on a touchscreen and then prints a paper ballot. Once the selections are reviewed, a voter feeds the paper ballot back into the machine where it’s deposited in a sealed ballot box.”

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The subject of odors came up a couple of times last week around town. People were discussing a company’s plans to put residual waste into the ground in central Madison County. The product would be coming from Butterball and other facilities in the region.

Betty Johnson asked the Huntsville Water and Sewer Commission last Thursday if the water department could do more to eliminate the smells coming from the wastewater treatment plant. And, of course, it’s that time of year when fertilizer is being spread on farms and fields to produce better products this spring.

Yet, I don’t think I was ready for last Wednesday morning. I stayed in Huntsville Tuesday night after covering the Primary Elections. When I walked out of the motel Wednesday morning, the smell about knocked me down. The town smelled worse than any bathroom I’ve ever encountered. It was rank near the high school, here at the office and elsewhere.

Sean Davis, manager of the water department, said some of the smell could have been coming from the wastewater plant, but he didn’t believe it was the only source. He said odors will hang closer to the ground on cooler days. When it’s hot out, the odors go up in the air and evaporate quickly.

Whatever it was and wherever it came from last Wednesday, I don’t think Huntsville wants that kind of stench to be part of the town.