A hearing will resume next week in a Tulsa County courtroom over the outcome of a special election for state House District 71 seat. Democrat Dan Arthrell and Republican Katie Henke are seeking to replace former state Representative Dan Sullivan. In that special election April 3, 2012, Arthrell won by three votes. Henke asked for a recount and on Wednesday, the Tulsa County Election Board certified Henke as the winner by one vote. After the board certified the election, two uncounted ballots for Arthrell were found inside a ballot box. The election board believes the two ballots were caught somehow, maybe on the edge of the drop box underneath the voting machine.
“The precinct officials have to literally get down on their hands and knees to look for these ballots,” Election Board Secretary Patty Bryant said. “They overlooked it when they put them in the boxes and sealed them and said these were all the ballots,” That’s why the election board asked a judge for guidance about what to do about a 1-vote margin, when 2 votes for the losing candidate were missed.
“All of this needs to be cleared up before anyone is seated from this district, otherwise whoever goes in is under a cloud,” House District 71 candidate Dan Arthrell (D) said. “I would not want to go under a cloud like that whether all the votes were cast and all the votes were counted.” The winner of the recount, Katie Henke, would lose if the ballots missed in the recount were added in. But since the extra ballots were not under lock and key – the law says they don’t count.