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Laying aside any personal opinions, and certainly not intending to infer or imply a preference of one candidate over the other, I am happy the recount of ballots on Monday, Aug. 16, turned out the way it did. Not because of who won the election and who lost, but because it affirms the accuracy of the voting system now used in Douglas County.
With only a 16-vote difference in the race for Douglas County Recorder of Deeds on Aug. 3, Kathy Bray requested a recount of ballots — something she had every right to do according to law.
The more than 3,500 ballots were counted again on Monday at the County Clerk’s Office, and the count came out virtually the same, with Tina Boyd emerging the winner by 17 votes.
The one vote difference on Monday was not a result of the way the machine counted the ballots, nor was it a result of the way the optical scanner saw the vote. The one vote difference was a judgmental decision made by election officials whose lot it was to interpret a voter’s intent on a ballot that was apparently not clearly marked.
Furthermore, it was not a decision made by one individual, but one made by a panel of four election workers called and seated by County Clerk Karry Davis to validate the final count and determine a winner in the election.
If those ballots were counted 10 times — or five times or three times — and each count resulted in a different tally, I would be skeptical of the counting method, as you would. But Monday’s recount tells me the system is accurate — probably the most accurate system ever used in public elections.
Various voting systems have been used in Missouri, from the paper ballot to mechanical voting machines, and the infamous punch-card system that resulted in the controversial “hanging chad” debacle in Florida’s presidential election of 2000.
The Help America Vote Act, or HAVA, was signed into law by President Bush in 2002 to help election authorities eliminate the punch cards by providing federal dollars to purchase optical scanning voting devices.
In more recent elections, we have marveled at the efficiency of the scanning devices. Now we can also be equally impressed by the accuracy of the system and know that ballots are being counted correctly.