OUR VIEW: Explanation needed on errors in vote countIt’s now been nine days since the Davison County Auditor’s Office reported Election Night results that were littered with erroneous numbers, and we still don’t know exactly what happened.
By: Editorial board, The Daily Republic
It’s now been nine days since the Davison County Auditor’s Office reported Election Night results that were littered with erroneous numbers, and we still don’t know exactly what happened.
After oddities in the results were sensed by some observers on Election Night, Tuesday, June 5, the numbers were subjected to scrutiny the next day, Wednesday, June 6. Errors were discovered and two new counts of the votes were conducted Thursday, June 7, following a lengthy effort by an Omaha-based technician and Auditor’s Office staffers to get the county’s vote-counting machine working properly. None of the winners changed, but vote numbers decreased in all races.
The new results have since been approved by both the county and city canvassing boards, so we feel reasonably confident the numbers are correct. We don’t think the continued push by some candidates for further recounts is productive.
We are, however, puzzled as to why nobody in city or county government has called anyone onto the carpet to explain these embarrassing errors that, for two days, made statewide news and cast the results of our election into doubt.
The Davison County Commission convened this week for a regularly scheduled meeting and said virtually nothing about the election fiasco. It should have been the first order of business. Auditor Susan Kiepke should have been called to the meeting to clearly explain what happened and to put the issue to bed once and for all. The Mitchell City Council, which conducted a special meeting this week to canvass the election and deal with one unrelated piece of business, should have done the same.
Without a full, detailed and public explanation of what caused the errors, we voters are left to wonder what happened. Was it the fault of people in the Auditor’s Office? If so, can they be trusted to conduct future elections? Or was it the fault of the vote-counting machine, or its software? And if that’s the case, what is being done to resolve the issue?
The proper conduct of elections is arguably the most fundamental and important role of our government. There should be a great sense of urgency right now to explain what befell our election results and fix the problem, yet we don’t feel that sense of urgency emanating from our city hall or courthouse.