CALDWELL -- The recount process for the College of Western Idaho's plant facilities levy in Canyon County turned up a total of 37 ballots that were missed on Election Day, county officials say.
County spokesman Joe Decker said the 37 ballots - 35 of which were cast in Caldwell's precinct 10 - had never been fed into the counting machines, meaning those voters' selections for everything from governor to state superintendent to the CWI levy were never recorded.
The discrepancy was discovered Wednesday evening when volunteers and county employees finished the recount and found that they had more ballots than the election night totals. To make sure the recount was accurate, Canyon County completed a second recount of all precinct 10 ballots, as well as every early voting and absentee ballot.
The second recount matched the first, with 37 additional ballots. Of those 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 is not enough to affect the fate of the $39 million levy, which failed by 144 votes. Ada County's recount process has not yet begun.
It's unclear what led to the additional ballots being missed.
Decker said the extra ballots apparently went unnoticed by the voting machine operator, possibly in the aftermath of a jam in the machine. After the issue was fixed, he said, the pile of ballots were mistakenly moved into the "counted" pile without ever being fed into the machine to record the votes.
The extra votes would not sway any of the other races that appeared on the ballots in precinct 10, Decker said. He also said that all voters in Canyon County can be confident that their votes were recorded.
"We're absolutely certain that every ballot that was cast was counted," he said.
The recount is not the first time uncounted votes have turned up in Canyon County. In the days after the Nov. 6 election, workers in the elections office found 39 ballots sent in by service members and U.S. citizens overseas inside a dedicated Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act ballot box that had been overlooked.
Those votes were counted and added to the county and state totals Nov. 13.