Monday, November 13, 2006
Mistake Found In Hand-Tally Totals
By Trip Jennings
Journal Capitol Bureau
Close observers of Bernalillo County's ongoing vote count may have noticed that the number of hand-tallied early voting ballots jumped from 642 to 696 late last week.
These are ballots cast at Bernalillo County's early voting sites but for some reason were rejected by the county's new electronic tabulators, requiring that they be hand-tallied by the county's Early Voting Board.
Bernalillo County Clerk Mary Herrera said Sunday the discrepancy could be due to either an arithmetic error by the Early Voting Board or a data entry error by one of her staff members. Staff entered the vote tallies into a computer last week.
An audit this week of the hand-tallied early voting ballots is likely to determine the origin of the error.
"We will check every number," Herrera said.
A representative of the Republican Party said Sunday the error was a cause of concern, but it's not big enough to warrant a dispute about the election results. The head of the state's Democratic Party, John Wertheim, agreed.
"No one likes to see new ballots show up after the election closes," said Paul Kienzle, an attorney for the Republicans. "But it's 50 ballots, and it's close up to the election. It's not 500 votes and five minutes before the canvass closes. These things happen."
Bernalillo County has until Friday to complete its canvass of the election results.