Recount Commission

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All the ballots cast in the May 7, 2002, Boone County Commissioner District 1 Republican primary were fairly counted. There was no fraud, tampering, or misconduct in this election. One could logically reach these conclusions after attending the 27 hours of meetings that the Recount Commission held on May 31, June 12, June 21, June 24, and June 26.

Before the last presidential election, many persons had an uninformed belief that every single ballot in every fair election was perfectly counted. After observing the excellent work of the Recount Commission, one becomes more aware of how human imperfections can introduce error into the election process. However, one can also recognize that election error is minimized in Boone County through the integrity of County Clerk Lisa Garoffolo and her able staff, the Election Board, and all the election-day precinct workers.

The Microvote electronic voting system is used in all Boone County precincts each election day. The Recount Commission found no errors in the 6,682 Microvote machine votes cast in the County Commissioner primary. The Microvote system accurately records votes, is easy to use, eliminates overvotes, is easily repaired, and has been proven reliable in many states.

Seven paper ballots were accepted in the Marion 1 precinct while it was being verified that its Microvote machine was working properly. The Recount Commission determined that these County Commissioner ballots were counted correctly.

The Recount Commission did find, and correct, some errors in the absentee ballot result. A total of 745 absentee ballot cards were processed for the May 7 Boone County primaries. Thirty-six (36) of these absentee ballots were voided because of identified discrepancies. Two (2) more ballots were voided for no recorded reason. The Recount Commission ran the remaining 707 ballot cards through an optical scanner, the same procedure that was followed on election night as ratified by the Election Board last October 11. There were 597 County Commissioner votes counted by the optical scanner. Twenty-six (26) ballots were clearly marked for one or the other of the County Commissioner candidates, but not read by the optical scanner. These 26 ballots were counted by the Recount Commission.

The Recount Commission also found two ballots that were never removed from their envelopes and, therefore, never counted. These two votes, one for each candidate, were included in the official vote.

There were a small number of errors in the absentee ballot process such as blank address blocks on some ballot envelopes, some absentee voters apparently not qualified in the precinct in which they voted, some missing ballot endorsement initials, some ballot envelopes not dated, some absentee voters not in the absentee voter registration book, and no date on some absentee ballot application forms. Some affidavit requests for voter registration transfer also included errors such as missing dates and no signatures. These errors were clerical oversights and were clearly not evidence of fraud.

The recount results quantify the margins of error that one can expect in Boone County elections. Of the 625 absentee ballots the Recount Commission found for the County Commissioner primary, 597 were properly read by the optical scanner and 28, or 4.48 percent, had to be hand counted. The Recount Commission found a total of 7,314 votes, or 9 more (0.01 percent) than were counted on May 7. The winning margin was decreased 7.37 percent from 95 votes to 88 votes.

Corrective measures will be implemented in the County Clerk’s office to reduce clerical errors in the absentee ballot and voter registration transfer process. In particular, two persons will be involved with the removal of absentee ballots from envelopes to make certain no ballots are mistakenly left in their envelope.

It is prudent to continue using the optical scanner to count absentee ballots in the County Clerk’s office on election night. The other option is to have the absentee ballots from each of the 46 Boone County precincts hand-counted by the on-site precinct workers. The likelihood of error from hand-counting by so many persons is probably about the same as the 5 percent error certified by the optical scanner manufacturer.

In conclusion, while there is some human error involved in the election process, every vote is important and will be fairly counted in Boone County. Anyone should be proud to be an election-day precinct worker.

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This page was last updated on 03/19/10 .