Voting integrity is worth $120 million to Georgia taxpayers but seemingly much less to state election officials. Georgians just made a huge investment in our elections with the purchase and implementation of a new election system. The most valuable improvement, without question, is the ability to verify results by hand recount using printed ballot backups. The State Election Board is threatening to turn the entire overhaul into a nine-figure waste of money. Chaired by Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, himself a supposed champion of the “physical recount,” the State Election Board is considering a rule that would leave the counting to the computer. In the event of a recount, the backup ballots would be run through the counting machine a second time rather than be physically reviewed and counted by local election officials. The move is preposterous on several levels. Let’s focus on the most obvious. Coming off a 2018 midterm election where voting integrity was the dominant theme, Raffensperger and company are stoking the simmering doubts of the electorate. To call this proposed rule tone deaf is to insult all those who can’t carry a tune.Full Article: Editorial: Proposed vote recount rule baffles - Opinion - Savannah Morning News - Savannah, GA.
Texas: Missing Midland County ballot box could throw bond election into question | Stacy Fernández/The Texas Tribune
A proposal for a $569 million bond to build two new high school buildings in Midland failed by 25 votes in the November election, a margin slim enough it set off calls for a recount. The ballots were recounted manually, and to the delight of Midland ISD officials, the results flipped and the proposal passed by a margin of 11 votes. But last week, a Midland elections staffer found a box on the bottom of a shelf in the office containing 836 ballots that weren’t tallied in the recount. Those votes threaten to again reverse the election results, which school officials are counting on to generate hundreds of millions of dollars for school construction. The elections office obtained a court order to open the ballot box on Monday morning, when staffers began to count up the missing votes. The first and unofficial vote tally on Nov. 5, which used the electronic ballots, took the missing ballots into account. The paper ballots are a physical copy of how constituents voted on the electronic system. The paper ballots came into play during the manual recount, which was missing the more than 800 ballots, making the recount number inaccurate.Full Article: Missing Midland, Texas ballot box could throw bond election into question | The Texas Tribune.
Kentucky: Senate president says Bevin should concede election if recanvass doesn’t alter vote totals | Joe Sonka and Deborah Yetter/Louisville Courier Journal
Republican Senate President Robert Stivers believes Gov. Matt Bevin should concede his loss to Democrat Andy Beshear if next week’s recanvass doesn’t significantly change the vote totals. “It’s time to call it quits and go home, say he had a good four years and congratulate Gov.-elect Beshear,” Stivers said in a brief Friday interview at the Capitol. Bevin finished 5,189 votes behind Beshear in Tuesday’s gubernatorial election but has refused to concede the race, requesting a recanvass of the vote that will take place Nov. 14. The governor has also made allegations of widespread voting irregularities and fraud on Election Day, but hasn’t provided any evidence to back up those claims. Stivers said if Bevin chooses to contest the election by calling a special session of the General Assembly and making a case that there was illegal activity, lawmakers would have to hear the dispute under the state constitution.Full Article: Kentucky Senate president: Bevin should concede if votes unchanged.
Kentucky: A Bevin-Beshear recount? Here’s what could happen in the Kentucky governor’s race | Joe Sonka/Louisville Courier Journal
To cap off one of the wildest finishes to a gubernatorial election in Kentucky history, Democratic candidate Andy Beshear declared victory to supporters Tuesday night, moments after Republican incumbent Matt Bevin told supporters that he will not concede the race. “This is a close, close race,” said Bevin, who trailed Beshear by 5,189 votes with 100% of precincts reporting across the state. “We are not conceding this race by any stretch.” Later that night, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes told CNN her office had called the race for Beshear, as they do not believe the difference in the vote can be made up by Bevin. As if matters couldn’t get more complicated, Republican Senate President Robert Stivers then told reporters that a joint session of the Kentucky General Assembly may eventually decide the winner, citing a provision in the state constitution that hasn’t been used in 120 years. So … what now?Full Article: Bevin-Beshear recount: What happens next in Kentucky governor race.
Kentucky: Republican lawmakers: Bevin can’t turn election dispute into ‘fishing expedition’ | Joe Sonka Louisville Courier Journal
Republicans in Kentucky’s legislature have expressed skepticism about Gov. Matt Bevin’s dispute with Tuesday night’s election results, saying the governor should back up his claims of “irregularities” and not drag the outcome beyond next week’s recanvass. “If there is evidence of fraud or illegalities, as was alluded to last night, Governor Bevin should state his claim immediately and let the evidence be reviewed,” Rep. Jason Nemes, R-Louisville, wrote in a Facebook post on Wednesday. “But this is not an opportunity for a fishing expedition or a chance to overturn the election result.” With the Kentucky secretary of state’s results showing he finished 5,189 votes behind Democrat Andy Beshear, his bitter political rival, Bevin requested a recanvass Wednesday. The recanvass involves each county’s election board counting absentee votes and checking printouts to make sure the vote totals they transmitted to the State Board of Elections on Tuesday were correct. It will take place on the morning of Nov. 14. Bevin told a crowd of supporters in Louisville on Tuesday night after the votes were counted that he would not concede to Beshear, referring to unspecified voting “irregularities.” Minutes later, Republican Senate President Robert Stivers suggested that under state law, Bevin could formally contest the election by calling a special session of the Kentucky General Assembly.Full Article: Kentucky governor race: Bevin should stop at recanvass, lawmakers say.
Will the Kentucky Legislature assist Matt Bevin in stealing the governor’s race from Democrat Andy Beshear, who appeared to have won Tuesday’s election by about 5,000 votes? Ordinarily, I would consider the possibility preposterous. We do not live in ordinary times, though, and on Wednesday Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers raised the prospect that his institution, not the voters, could determine the outcome of the race. If Stivers and Republican Kentucky legislators were to make such a hardball move without good evidence that there were major problems with the vote count, the election would likely end up in federal court, where it is anyone’s guess what would happen. Either way, that we’re even discussing this potentiality one year before Donald Trump—who has repeatedly challenged the vote totals in his 2016 election victory—is set to face reelection is a wrenching sign for our already-damaged democracy.Full Article: Could Matt Bevin steal the Kentucky governor’s election?.
Bolivia: Police fire tear gas as president, opposition wrestle over election audit | Vivian Sequera & Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters
Protests over a disputed presidential election convulsed Bolivia on Tuesday as police fired tear gas in the capital and the sitting president and opposition candidate wrestled over an audit of the results. The brief suspension of publication of the results from an electronic count of the Oct. 20 presidential election has triggered protests and strikes that have closed roads, schools and businesses around the nation for more than a week. President Evo Morales, a leftist seeking a fourth term, was eventually declared the winner, prompting accusations of fraud from opposition candidate Carlos Mesa and his supporters. In La Paz, opposition protesters mounted road barricades of rope, wooden boards and sheets of metal. Rows of helmet-clad riot police lined some streets, separating Morales’ supporters from protesters opposed to the president. Tear gas was used in at least two locations to disperse protesters.Full Article: Bolivian police fire tear gas as president, opposition wrestle over election audit - Reuters.
Florida: 2020 election: Democrats man up for recount; GOP looks to boost voter ranks | Jennifer Jia/The Palm Beach Post
Brandon Peters, the state party’s voter protection program director, says he told Democratic activists at the state party’s Leadership Blue 2019 meeting in June that they should assume another recount will occur in 2020. Election Day in November 2020 is still more than a year away, but Florida Democrats are already lining up their poll watching, legal and — just in case — recount teams while state Republicans look to drive registrations higher. This past week, a Florida Democratic Party mass email was sent to potential volunteers calling on them to “protect the vote in Florida in 2020.” It added: “Because the GOP will stop at nothing to re-elect Donald Trump next year, it’s important for us to build our roster early.” Brandon Peters, the state party’s voter protection program director, says he told Democratic activists at the state party’s Leadership Blue 2019 meeting in June that they should assume another recount will occur in 2020. “We are going to be prepared,” Peters said. He hopes to recruit as many as 15,000 lawyers and volunteers by July of next year. Peters created a GoFundMe page in January to raise money needed to cover the costs of the effort. Fifty-two donors surpassed the post’s $2,500 goal. The funds will go toward hiring, training and equipping voter protection teams in Florida and Georgia.Full Article: 2020 election: Dems man up for recount; GOP looks to boost voter ranks - News - The Palm Beach Post - West Palm Beach, FL.
New York, long home to some of the more arcane, incumbent-protecting election laws in the country, has made rapid progress in bolstering the right to vote. In recent months, the State Legislature enacted early voting, passed a measure to automatically transfer a voter’s registration if she moves within the state and gave initial authorization for a constitutional amendment to make absentee voting easier. But when lawmakers left Albany last month, some of the work remained unfinished — 31 election-related bills that have been approved by the Legislature but have not been signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The importance of at least one of those measures has become clear since last month’s Democratic primary for district attorney in Queens ended with a razor-thin margin that set off an automatic recount. Tiffany Cabán, a public defender, declared victory on election night, June 25, with a margin of some 1,100 votes. But several days later, after election officials reviewed the roughly 6,300 paper ballots cast, Borough President Melinda Katz was ahead by 20 votes.Full Article: Opinion | One Lesson From the Katz-Cabán Recount - The New York Times.
Florida: Official tells Florida Democrats to expect recount in 2020 | Mike Schneider/Associated Press
The new voter protection director for Florida Democrats told party activists on Saturday that they should assume there will be a recount during next year’s presidential election. “We are going to be prepared,” Brandon Peters told a packed room of Democratic activists at the state party’s Leadership Blue 2019 meeting at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Peters, who was hired by the state party last month, said there will be teams of volunteers trained in how to monitor county canvassing boards for recount problems around the state, should one take place in the 2020 presidential election. Florida became famous for recounts after the 2000 presidential election, and last year there were recounts in three statewide races. The Florida Democratic Party is the second state Democratic party in the nation to hire a voter protection director, behind the Georgia Democratic Party.Full Article: Official tells Florida Democrats to expect recount in 2020.
Turkey’s ruling party said Sunday that it will appeal for a full recount of all votes cast in Istanbul’s mayoral election, which the opposition narrowly won in a major setback for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In the March 31 local elections, the opposition not only prevailed in a tight race in Istanbul’s financial and cultural center, it also took control of Ankara, the capital. Erdogan’s party, which held both cities for decades, contested the results, claiming the elections were “tainted.” The ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, won the right for a recount of votes previously deemed invalid. On Sunday, Ali Ihsan Yavuz, an AKP deputy chairman, said the party would appeal to the country’s top election authority for a total recount of votes in Istanbul’s 38 districts, not just of ballots that were canceled.Full Article: Erdogan’s party seeks full recount in Istanbul - The Washington Post.
At least three state senators are drafting legislation that would require automatic recounts in close election races in Hawaii. The bills being drafted seek to avoid or more quickly resolve election disputes such as the one ongoing for a Honolulu City Council seat, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Monday. The council is still without a ninth member after candidate Tommy Waters challenged Trevor Ozawa’s 22-vote victory at the last election.Full Article: Hawaii lawmakers draft bills for recounts in close elections | National Politics | dailyjournalonline.com.
Congo’s neighbors are calling for a vote recount in the disputed presidential election and suggesting the formation of a government of national unity to avoid possible instability. The statements by the southern African and Great Lakes regional blocs put new pressure on the government of outgoing President Joseph Kabila to find a peaceful and transparent solution to a growing electoral crisis in one of Africa’s largest and most mineral-rich nations. The declared presidential runner-up, Martin Fayulu, filed a court challenge over the weekend demanding a recount, citing figures compiled by the influential Catholic Church’s 40,000 election observers that found he won 61 percent of the vote.Full Article: Congo’s neighbors call for vote recount in troubled election - The Washington Post.
Democratic Republic of Congo opposition leader Martin Fayulu on Saturday asked the country’s constitutional court to order a recount of the Dec. 30 presidential vote to find a successor to President Joseph Kabila. The Central African nation is still reeling from the surprise announcement Wednesday that another opposition leader, Felix Tshisekedi, had won the election. Mr. Kabila’s handpicked candidate came in third. Police and members of Mr. Kabila’s presidential guard on Saturday blocked many supporters of Mr. Fayulu from reaching the constitutional court, where his lawyers entered a petition for a manual recount of the presidential election. “I will take this to the very end. I won’t accept that my victory is stolen,” Mr. Fayulu said.Full Article: Congo Opposition Candidate Fayulu Appeals Election Results - WSJ.
The historic recount of three City Council elections began here Monday, as a medley of people packed a city conference room to commence the review of more than 170,000 ballots. The three DS-850 ballot-counting machines — the use of which three of the six candidates involved in the recount objected — lined the front of the room, as sheriff’s deputies managed traffic across the room. Circuit Court Clerk Tina Sinnen described the process — an unprecedented one that has been crafted in the public eye over the last several weeks — as “organized chaos,” illustrating the interlocking puzzle of people, process, and access required to administer the state’s first recount of multiple elections.Full Article: Court clerk: Virginia Beach recount process begins in ‘organized chaos’ | Southside Daily.
Maine: Poliquin ends recount but may still appeal court decision upholding ranked-choice voting | Portland Press Herald
Rep. Bruce Poliquin on Friday ended the hand recount of ballots cast in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District race, but might still appeal a federal judge’s ruling on his constitutional challenge of ranked-choice voting. In a statement, Poliquin pointed out that he captured the most votes on Election Day – a fact that has never been in question – but said he is ending the recount. With more than 50 percent of the recount complete, Poliquin had yet to pick up a substantial number of votes in the ranked-choice runoff that would allow him to surpass Democratic Rep.-elect Jared Golden. Poliquin, a two-term Republican, trails Golden by more than 3,500 votes following the nation’s first use of ranked-choice voting to decide a congressional election.Full Article: Poliquin ends recount but may still appeal court decision upholding ranked-choice voting - Portland Press Herald.
Maine lawyers Benjamin Grant and Joshua Tardy are used to being holed up together. For at least eight hours a day over the past week, they’ve rubbed shoulders in a cramped conference room in Augusta, overseeing the hand recount of the nearly 300,000 ballots cast in Maine’s 2nd District. “We’re like Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner,” Tardy joked. “You gotta have each other.” Grant, a Democrat, and Tardy, a Republican, have handled most of the state House and Senate recounts in the Pine Tree State for the past decade. GOP Rep. Bruce Poliquin requested the recount of the 2nd District after losing to Democrat Jared Golden last month under the new ranked-choice voting system. The mechanics of this recount are slightly different, but the intimacy of the process — with opposing campaigns examining paper ballots side by side — is similar to what happens across the country when the counting, for one reason or another, must begin anew.Full Article: Maine Recount Is a Low-Drama Affair — Unlike the Election.
The Democrat who lost a recount by one vote in a contested Alaska House race said Wednesday she will challenge the results. Kathryn Dodge said she disagreed with decisions the Division of Elections made on some ballots and will file required paperwork with the Alaska Supreme Court. A recount, held Friday in the Fairbanks race, showed Republican Bart LeBon winning by one vote. During the recount, Dodge picked up another vote, while LeBon picked up two. “This race has gone back and forth, favoring me and my opponent at one time or another during a lengthy process,” Dodge said in a statement. “I believe that it is important to follow the process through so that absolutely no doubt remains about this incredibly close result.”Full Article: Democrat who lost Alaska House race recount plans appeal | Peninsula Clarion.
Maine: Long recount could leave Maine’s 2nd District seat vacant when Congress begins new term | Central Maine
The recount that began Thursday in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District race could leave the seat vacant and the district without representation when Congress convenes in January. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and a Republican House staff member involved in the seating decision issued conflicting opinions on the matter Thursday, making it uncertain whether Maine will have a 2nd District representative if the recount isn’t completed before new members of Congress are sworn in Jan. 3. Workers from the Maine Secretary of State’s Office gathered in a converted conference room Thursday and started the arduous task of hand-counting the 300,000 ballots cast in the election, which saw Democratic challenger Jared Golden beat incumbent Republican Bruce Poliquin by about 3,500 votes. Poliquin asked for the recount on Nov. 26 after Golden was declared the winner. Poliquin also has filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the constitutionality of the ranked-choice voting system.Full Article: Long recount could leave Maine’s 2nd District seat vacant when Congress begins new term - CentralMaine.com.
The lengthy town-by-town recount of nearly 300,000 ballots cast in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District race will begin Thursday morning, according to the Secretary of State’s Office. Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin requested the recount after a tabulation of the ballots using Maine’s ranked-choice voting system showed him trailing Democrat Jared Golden by 3,509 votes. Poliquin is also challenging the constitutionality of ranked-choice voting in court. The recount is expected to take as long as four weeks as teams from the two campaigns hand-count each ballot in every municipality, setting aside any disputed ballots. The process is repeated for each round of ranked-choice voting as the teams tabulate the second- and third-choice preferences of voters whose candidates were eliminated from contention.Full Article: Ballot recount in 2nd Congressional District race starts Thursday - Portland Press Herald.