BOISE — Discrepancies in recounts in both Ada and Canyon counties are raising eyebrows.
We reported Wednesday night the legislative District 15 Senate recount wrapped up and the outcome stayed the same. But the number of total votes did not.
In Canyon County's College of Western Idaho plant facilities levy recount, 37 uncounted ballots turned up. In Canyon County, the disparity lies between the number of ballots counted by the machine and ballots poll workers returned.
The county says during a machine issue or jam, ballots were sent through but the tabulator didn't read them - 35 of them were cast in Caldwell's precinct 10. That went unnoticed by the machine operator, meaning those voters' selections were never recorded, but were mistakenly put into the "counted" bin.
Of the 37 ballots, 19 people voted in favor of the levy, 12 voted against, and six people made no selection, resulting in a net gain of seven votes for the measure. As of now, that's not enough to impact CWI’s failed fate.
"Moving forward, additional protocols will be in place to ensure these numbers match, or the batch will be cleared and reprocessed to ensure accurate counting and results," Canyon County spokesman Joe Decker said in a statement.
Ada County’s College of Western Idaho levy recount is still underway but technical problems on Thursday threw a wrench in it. Yesterday, they announced District 15 Senate race recount results, Republican Fred Martin narrowly defeated Democrat Jim Bratnober. Martin won by six votes election night and with the recount, that margin inched up to eleven votes.
But during the recount there were six less votes reported than there were election night. Ada County Elections says the discrepancy looks like it's with absentee ballots.
"We've gone through a bunch of processes and contacted our vendor and are working with them, we've been able to determine that it’s not votes that went missing at any point in the process," Ada County Chief Deputy Clerk Phil McGrane said. "It appears to be something related to the machines counting and handling of the ballots so it might be our operators and how one of them handled ballots or more than one of them handled ballots, we're trying to isolate that."
County officials say even with the six vote difference, the outcome of the District 15 Senate race would have stayed the same. They expect to have their CWI levy recount results out by next week, but with 192,000 double sided ballots to go through, it's taking a while.
"Transparency is really important in the election process because we want people to have faith that their vote is counted," McGrane said. "So we're working through to make sure we do everything possible to clarify anything about results, whether that’s vote change or anything else we want to be able to show why that happened."