Do All Votes Count In A Recount?

By: Tony Tagliavia Email
By: Tony Tagliavia Email

Billie O'Berry lost her race to unseat 55th District Judge Tom Boyd by roughly 400 votes.

"I had petitioned for a recount through the state of Michigan," O'Berry explained Friday.

That recount took place over the last few days and O'Berry isn't happy about the results.

"It concerns me very much," she said.

The recount gave Boyd an even bigger lead. But O'Berry says her concern isn't solely because she lost the race and the recount.

The assistant Lansing city attorney says she's concerned because of 64 Ingham County precincts voting in the race, 23 couldn't be included in the recount.

"It's very frustrating for a candidate that wants a recount of all the ballots in their district to be told that they cannot be verified at all because for some reason, the integrity of the ballots has been compromised," O'Berry said.

But in many elections there are precincts that can't be counted, according to Ingham County Clerk Mike Bryanton.

"Unfortunately, in every recount, there are what are called unrecountable precincts," he said.

A poll worker could forget to sign off on the ballots or the number on a ballot seal might not match polling place records.

O'Berry says it reveals a problem with the way elections are run. (She could challenge the recount before the full state board of canvassers.)

"There are safeguards put in place by the state of Michigan that are to be followed yet they weren't followed," O'Berry said.

Bryanton says there's no evidence those rules were deliberately "not followed."

"None whatsoever," he said.

And Bryanton says just because votes weren't included in the recount doesn't mean they didn't count in the election.

Still, he says, it's a problem -- a bigger problem than in years past because of new procedures connected to new voting equipment.

He hopes to minimize it.

"I guarantee, in Ingham County, it's going to be less of a problem because ... we're going to take the election inspectors to boot camp," Bryanton said.

A move that should result in more votes that can be both counted and re-counted.

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