Recount! Judicial

Superior Court Ballot Manual Recount Requested But Nothing Changes 120110

If you’d invested hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars in a contest, and then lost by a tiny fraction of a percent of the electorate, meaning that if five people out of 1778 voters were misunderstood you’d have won, would you ask for a recount?  

I would, and apparently Tom Archer has, too.

The Sierra County Registrar of Voters Heather Foster has announced a request for a manual recount of the Sierra County Superior Court ballots.  The notice didn’t specify who requested the recount.
We’re going out on a limb here to suggest the recount wasn’t requested by Charles Ervin, the person we all thought had won already; that leaves Mr. Archer as a logical requestor.

According to Ms. Foster the procedure for a manual recount is set by law, and by Sierra County Procedure. 

The procedure was followed today, and sure enough, nothing changed, Charles Ervin remains Sierra County Superior Court judge.

This outcome is in accordance with conventional wisdom, which says recounts do sometimes change the number of ballots but typically do not change the outcome.  Occasionally the apparent winner actually gains votes.  There have been notable exceptions, but those have typically been state elections with many, many voters.  For example, the 8 voters in the ballot count here are equal to well over 9,000 voters in San Bernardino.  
Further, in some examples, hand counts have not been more accurate than machine counts.

The original count was done by a Premier Election Systems Accuvote O/S (Optical Scanner) according to the Registrar of Voters.  

Heather Foster, in response to our questions, said:
“In 2001 the outcome for the SPJUSD recall election did change; however,
at the time we were using a punch card system which generally had issues
with ‘hanging chads’. The punch card systems have since been
decertified by the Secretary of State and can no longer be used in
Federal or Statewide elections. Our new system is an optical scanning
All ballots are inspected during the processing of the
vote-by-mail ballots prior to being run through the optical scanner in
order to correct any defective ballots per EC 15210. I believe this
system has proven to be very accurate. As part of the canvassing
requirements for every election, my office is required to conduct a
public manual tally of the ballots cast in 1% of the precincts per EC
15360. Since this system has been implemented in 2006 we have not found
any discrepancies when conducting the manual tallies. A 100% manual
tally was also conducted for the Supervisorial race in the June 8, 2010
Primary Election which included three precincts and no discrepancies
were found.”

If nothing else, we need to thank Mr. Archer or whomever requested the recount for some “news energy” in these dark winter months.  

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