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FLATHEAD RECOUNT. KECI13 News. November 3, 2004.

As many of statewide candidates were making their acceptance speeches, Flathead election officials were conceding to setbacks pushing back substantial results by almost eleven hours. 

Well past midnight this morning, a steady hum filled the elections office.

And perhaps it wasn't out of the ordinary with a high volume of Flathead voters. "Precincts were concerned they were going to run out of ballots.  We did have extra ones.  We got all of those. I believe we satisfied all of the voters' needs there.  But it's just a fantastic turnout," said Diane Murer, Flathead County Elections Office.

At a time officials are usually wrapping up returns, the county's optical scanner wasn't even half way done whirring its way through a steady diet of ballots and the clock was inching towards 4 a.m. "We've discovered that there are a couple of errors in the programming for the tabulation system,? Murer added.

This became clear more than five hours earlier, two precincts in, both showing an odd coincidence, no opposition to I-147.  Next precinct scanned, same result.  Then it got worse. New returns show a precinct voted well beyond the number of registered voters.

So new software was on the way and back to the first ballot. "This is only our second election on this system.  We're still learning the in's and out's of it, and with this volume of voting, we're just taking a few nicks,? Murer explained.

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