Alleging widespread voting machine errors and other Election Day problems, Republican Sandy Welch requested a manual vote recount Monday in the race she narrowly lost for Montana schools superintendent. Official results had Democrat Denise Juneau leading Welch by 2,231 votes out of more than 468,000 cast in the Nov. 6 election. An elections expert said Monday that slim margin is likely too large for Welch to overcome. But Welch, a Martin City education consultant, said voting glitches in Lewis and Clark, Yellowstone, Beaverhead, Missoula and other counties were widespread enough that she can make up the difference and prevail on a recount.
“There were some pretty significant problems,” she said. “We are aware of instances where there were significant errors made in counting ballots and this is the best process to confirm this.”
She said those issues compelled her to apply for the recount through state District Court in Flathead County rather than through the Secretary of State’s office as had been expected.
Welch added that there was no evidence of fraud or other foul play: “It just seems more along the lines of error, and it’s because of the number of different errors that we think they can accumulate to make this a win for us,” she said.
But elections expert Rob Richie said Monday that Welch will be fighting long odds in her bid to become Montana’s next superintendent of public instruction.
Richie, with the Maryland-based election research and reform group FairVote, said he analyzed 18 statewide recounts in the U.S. over the past decade. Those recounts on average shifted the vote less than .03 percent, or by just a few hundred votes, he said.
By contrast, Welch lost by .48 percent. That’s more than 17 times the average shift found by FairVote.
Full Article: Welch seeks recount in Mont., but faces long odds.