Officials not concerned about past results after vote recountAfter anomaly forced votes to be counted again and again, best guess by technician is a software glitch caused problems.
By: Chris Huber, The Daily Republic
Following errors in Tuesday’s election results that caused a Thursday recount, some have wondered about other election results in the recent past.
But local officials say they are not concerned that past results were skewed.
“I think part of the reason I’m not worried about past results is that with this one, there was some number incongruity that you guys at The Daily Republic found and Susan (Kiepke) did too,” said Davison County Commission Chairman John Claggett.
“If there was a problem in those past elections, I think we would have found the same thing happening with those numbers.”
Davison County Auditor Susan Kiepke agreed, saying reports are run and checked as part of the canvassing process to make sure the numbers match.
She called the error that happened Tuesday an isolated incident.
It’s still unclear exactly what happened. After some oddities were discovered in the numbers — a 407-vote difference between the totals in the Mitchell mayoral race and a city ballot issue, for instance — a recount was scheduled for Thursday. The new count dragged on from 9:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. as a technician and local election officials struggled to get the county’s vote-counting machine running correctly.
After the ballots were run through the machine two times Thursday, new results were finally reported. None of the winners changed, but the numbers did. The 407-vote difference between the totals in the mayoral race and ballot issue, for example, shrank to 28 votes.
On Thursday, Kiepke blamed Tuesday’s error on the machine or its software. The technician, from Election Systems & Software of Omaha, Neb., declined to provide his name but said there was “nothing wrong with the machine.”
Claggett said he doesn’t expect the Davison County commissioners to ask for a review of past elections, because there were no indicators that a mistake had been made during those elections.
State’s Attorney Pat Smith reiterated that sentiment, saying “elections need to have finality” and adding he wouldn’t advise the commissioners to examine past election results.
The machine that was used to count the ballot in Tuesday’s election will continue to be monitored by Election Systems & Software.
Kiepke said the company will make sure it is diagnosed and fully repaired or replaced by the November election.
“He (the technician) said he has never seen anything like this,” Kiepke said Friday. “He thought the problem may have been with the software but couldn’t be certain.”
While the same machine has been used in Davison County elections since 2005, the software for the machine is specifically written for each election. If there was a problem with the software, that specific problem would be isolated to only this election.