As a follow-up to my previous post about problems with the May 2015 election in the City of Martindale, I wanted to pass along this follow-up story from the Austin-American Statesman.
It turns out that due to a clerical error, ballots were double-counted in the November 2015 do-over election that the city had conducted, and now a recount is scheduled for today (Thursday, November 12).
Again, the culprit seems to be inexperience; the city hasn’t conducted a contested election for public office in years, and people are still figuring out how to run the equipment. My suspicion is that election workers got confused and ran an electronic tally of the Election Day results at the voting location without realizing that this tally would be automatically added to the tally at the central counting station run by the county election administrator, and then transported the voting equipment to the county facility where the tally was run again.
Another possibility is that the election workers jumped the gun by counting the early votes, commingled the early votes with the Election Day votes, and then counted the whole mass of votes together again.
It’s not the end of the world – as errors go, it’s small potatoes compared to the screw-up that prompted the need to re-do the May 2015 election; the recount (assuming that the early voting and Election Day ballots can still be properly sequestered) should resolve the whole problem in a matter of less than half-an-hour. But it’s expensive and annoying to require the losing candidate to demand a recount, it potentially delays the proper transition to whomever actually won the election, and it further contributes to an erosion in the public trust.