Post-Election Audit Finds Error of 1,114 ballots

South Carolina: 1,114 Richland County ballots not counted <read>

A state election audit revealed Thursday that Richland County officials failed to count 1,114 absentee ballots when finalizing results of the Nov. 5 city and county elections.

 Howard Jackson, county election director, said the electronic ballots came from a single voting machine used by absentee voters at the election office.

This was the first countywide election since Richland County’s botched 2012 general election, considered one of the worst in state history. At that time, precincts across the county did not have enough voting machines, leaving some voters in line for up to seven hours, and hundreds of ballots turned up uncounted days later…

Jackson said votes on a single personal electronic ballot, or PEB, were not counted. Poll workers insert a PEB into a voting machine to open and close it; it stores all the ballots cast on that machine.

“We just missed one of the PEBs,” Jackson said. “I can’t understand how that happened.”

This is similar to one type of human error that happens from time to time in Connecticut – human errors that result in inaccurate results often attributed to electronic voting. We total machines by hand, yet when more that one machine is used in a district, we could forget to include one machine or maybe just read some of the ballots in more than once, like what happened last year, as detected in the process of the post-election audit:   <read>

One municipality discovered a significant error, 151 ballots double counted because write – in votes were read into the scanner a second time . The audit discovered the error which should have be en discovered and corrected as part of the normal election closing and reporting processes.

Yet, we point to  two areas where South Carolina seems to do better than Connecticut:

First, the State found and reported the error within a few days after the election, whereas in Connecticut the State has yet to report the results of the 2012 audit or report any investigation of the other differences identified by the Nov 2012 audit and several earlier audits. From the Coalition Report:

There were many differences between machine counts and hand counts reported to the Secretary of the State by municipalities . – we can find no acceptable all o f these discrepancies either to humans or to the voting machines ] . In many cases, these discrepancies are not reasonably explained. In other cases , the explanations make no sense or contradict the data in municipalities’ reports. Whether these discrepancies are the result of human or voting machine errors is unknown

Connecticut’s latest official report, not including any investigations of differences, covered the November 2011 Election <all CT reports>

Second, South Carolina seems to take such errors quite seriously:

“If it’s possible, Richland County citizens now have even less faith in their elections,” said Eaddy Willard, county Republican chairwoman. “Tonight I am calling on Richland County leaders to finally fix the problems. Take action and do your jobs.”
The S.C. Democratic Party released this statement from chairman Jaime Harrison in response to the announcement that 1,100 absentee ballots from the most recent election in Richland County were not counted:

“Like many Richland County residents, I was shocked and frustrated to hear about the results of the South Carolina Election Commission audit. It is inexcusable and unacceptable. The voters of every county in South Carolina must be able to have full confidence in the electoral process and uphold the promise that every single vote counts. The South Carolina Democratic Party supports any and all efforts to solve these increasingly-frequent problems at the Richland County Election Commission once and for all. Leaders must ensure that voters in South Carolina can finally have confidence that their vote was counted.”

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