Update: The Tulsa County election board said they’ve discovered two missing ballots. The ballots were found inside a ballot box that was not retrieved by a precinct official on the night of the election. There’s a meeting Thursday with a District judge to determine what happens next. Wednesday’s recount changed the winner from Democrat Dan Arthrell to Republican Katie Henke.
A recount changed the outcome of a state house race. Election Day totals had a Democrat winning by three votes – but a recount Wednesday put the Republican ahead by one. Republican Katie Henke been certified as the winner of the race. Democrat Dan Arthrell finished ahead by three votes on election night, April 3, 2012, but lost 4 votes in the recount at the Tulsa County Election Board office Wednesday afternoon. Democrats want to know how it happened that the number of ballots counted on Election Day is different than the number of ballots counted Wednesday.
The methodical pace of a hand recount can sometimes disguise the drama that’s possible in a close election. In this case, 2800 ballots from the House District 71 race were reviewed by a team of election workers. Two people check each ballot and call out the vote while 2 people do the counting. A person from each political party watches and an election board employee stands ready to help. It’s supposed to be absolutely accurate – but when all of the counting was done – the numbers were off by four from what the voting machines counted on Election Day.
“There is obviously in my mind a question about what appears to be four missing ballots and all of those ballots, in that there’s missing, reduced my count by four,” said Dan Athrell, House District 71 Democratic Candidate, “It’s an interesting thing. I don’t know what it means.” What it means for now is that Republican Katie Henke has been certified as the winner of the race. She asked for the recount but wasn’t there to watch it turn around the outcome.