Site Map
Voting News
Contact Us
About Us

is NOT!
associated with

Missing Senate ballots turn up safe
By KEVIN LANDRIGAN, for the Nashua Telegraph 14 November 2004

CONCORD - Hollis town officials believe they have located the missing ballots that stalled a state Senate recount Friday night.

Town Moderator James Squires and Town Clerk Nancy Jambard alerted state prosecutors and local police Saturday morning after discovering that 253 ballots cast on Nov. 2 were still inside an optical scanning machine at Town Hall.

Assistant Attorney General Bud Fitch said Hollis police took custody of the ballots and delivered them to Secretary of State Bill Gardner.

?We?re pretty optimistic that once these ballots are recounted, the vote total in Hollis will be along the same lines as they determined on election night,?? Fitch said.

Gardner will confer with the two candidates, Democratic Sen.-elect David Gottesman of Nashua and Republican state Rep. Harry Haytayan of Hollis, to settle on when these ballots will be recounted, Fitch said. Gardner had earlier said the recount may resume Thursday.

On Nov. 2, Gottesman defeated Haytayan by 188 votes - 13,316 to 13,128 - for an open seat in Senate District 12, which includes Nashua wards 1, 2, 5 and 9 along with the towns of Brookline, Hollis and Mason.

On Friday, six teams of volunteers recounted ballots in two Nashua wards and Mason and Haytayan had closed the margin by 11 votes.The outcome in Hollis, however, was placed in doubt after a recount of ballots turned up 234 votes shy of what local officials reported on Election Day.

After the recount, Haytayan had 2,438 votes, 113 fewer than the town reported he received on Nov. 2. Gottesman had 1,942 votes, 121 fewer.

Fitch said the higher number of ballots found in the machine would be consistent with what was missing from the recount if 19 people chose not to vote in the state Senate election.

?We?re right in the ballpark of what we are short of so the chances are pretty good this will resolve the problem,?? Fitch said.

On Friday, a check with Hollis town officials confirmed that the seven boxes of ballots sealed after the polls closed had been sent to state archives and were delivered for the recount.

Gardner spoke with Squires on Friday night about the discrepancy and on Saturday morning Squires and Jambard went to Town Hall and discussed what could have caused it.

?They opened the machine, fully expecting that wouldn?t solve the issue and there the ballots were, sitting in the bottom bin,?? Fitch related.

Gottesman said he never expected this would be the answer.

?How could that possibly have happened??? Gottesman asked rhetorically. ?I felt badly for the volunteers from both sides who worked for hours to try and finish the recount and hit this brick wall. I really appreciate the time they took out of their own busy lives to try and get this done right.??

Even though the ballots were left in the machine, local officials counted them by reading the tapes that record the ballots scanned, Fitch said.

?If all those ballots were properly scanned through the machine, the local count should be accurate,?? Fitch said.

Since Election Day, Fitch said the ballot machine was not opened. It is typically locked and can only be opened with a key possessed only by the moderator and town clerk, he added.

?We have a reasonable degree of confidence that these ballots have been very secure since Nov. 2,?? Fitch said.

Hollis was one of many communities on Election Day that ran out of ballots. The optical scanning machines count official ballots, but the additional ballots copied for late voters had to be hand-counted. This increases the possibility of human error, Gardner said.

The town reported 4,898 people cast ballots from among 5,230 names on the checklist. This 93.6 percent turnout was nearly 3 percent higher than any other polling place in Hillsborough County on Nov. 2. The closest towns to Hollis were Temple, which had a 90.7 percent turnout, and Mason at 90.3 percent.

Gardner had said it was odd that 300 more had voted in this race than for Executive Council contest that is above it on the ballot.

Squires told Gardner that?s not a surprise because this race was so competitive from the beginning and because Haytayan is well known from serving on the local school board along with his seat in the Legislature.

Previous Page

Election Problem Log image
2004 to 2009


Accessibility Issues
Accessibility Issues

Cost Comparisons
Cost Comparisons

Flyers & Handouts

VotersUnite News Exclusives

Search by

Copyright © 2004-2010 VotersUnite!