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Missing votes found in machines

By DAVE WOODSON, Elko Daily Free Press Staff Writer   08 December 2004
 ELKO - Elko County Clerk Win Smith said 271 votes in November's general election were not counted because of a "computer glitch" with the new touch-screen machine system.

Smith said three result cards from machines used at the Elko Convention Center, the voting location for the City of Elko, were found to have had problems.

However, she said those votes have since been recovered from the computer cards and added to the final totals.

"The good thing is that they found it," Elko County Manager Rob Stokes said.

Smith said the recovered votes did not impact any election results.

"No votes were lost," she said. "No races were changed."

Smith said the missing votes were discovered late Thursday when county employees inputting voter history into the system discovered that the number of voters and the number of votes did not match.

"We found out all the votes were not counted," she said.

Smith said she contacted Sequoia Voting Systems Inc., the Oakland, Calif.-based hardware and software firm that provided the touch-screen system, and the company provided assistance in finding and correcting the problem.

"We walked it through," she said. "We easily got the votes out of those cartridges."

Smith said the ability to quickly correct the problem was a positive aspect of the new machines, which were used for the first time this year.

"It proves that this system was very reliable," she said.

Smith said the Nevada Secretary of State's office has been notified. She also said an amended vote canvass would have to submitted.

Stokes said the county board will meet in special session at 1 p.m. Thursday at the county courthouse to approve the amended canvass results. He said those results would then be sent to the Nevada Secretary of State so statewide totals also can be amended.

In only two races did the losing candidate pick up more votes than the winning candidate, but it was not enough to alter the outcome of the balloting.

In the contest for Elko County School Board of Trustees District 4, Gordon Fobes added 129 votes to Bill Wilkerson's 58 additional votes.

Despite Fobes cutting into Wilkerson's margin, Wilkerson still won the seat with 7,399 votes to Fobes' 5,981 votes.

In the Elko Civic Auditorium race for Seat C, winner Dave Huckaby added 122 votes while John Collett collected 123 votes. Huckaby still won the seat by a 6,081 to 5,225 margin.

With the amended results, President George W. Bush's winning margin in Elko climbed by .5 percent to 77.98 when he picked up an additional 204 votes while Democratic challenger John Kerry added 55 votes to his total. Bush carried Elko County with 12,142 votes over Kerry's 3,106.

Incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Harry Reid picked up 107 additional votes but Republican Richard Ziser added 135 votes.

Ziser continued to carry the county with 8,047 votes in his losing bid to unseat Reid, who polled 6,191 votes.

GOP Rep. Jim Gibbons gained 199 votes in his near landslide win over Democrat Angie Cochran, who added 42 votes, with the final total showing Gibbons with 12,008 to Cochran's 2,324.

State Sen. Dean Rhoads, R-Tuscarora, mainted his lead over Independent American Party candidate Thomas Jefferson, when Rhoads added 198 votes to Jefferson's 68 votes.

Rhoads' winning margin was 11,794 to Jefferson's 3,060.

State Assemblyman John Carpenter, R-Elko, who ran unopposed, upped his ballot total by 206 votes to 12,030.

Also running unopposed was Elko County Commissioner Democrat Mike Nannini for his fourth term from District 1, who picked up an additional 215 votes to bring his total to 11,536.

Incumbent Republican John Ellison in District 3 added 191 votes while his challenger, IAP candidate Dorothy Jefferson, added 72 votes that gave Ellison a margin of 11,313 to Jefferson's 3,413 ballots.

Another incumbent Republican, Warren Russell, in District 5, collected an additional 176 votes while his challenger IAP's Michael Smith added 80 votes for a final tally of Russell with 10,347 votes to Smith's 4,305 votes.

In the Elko County School Board of Trustees race in District 3, winner Annette Kerr picked up 157 votes while Jerry Williams added 50 votes to make the final total Kerr with 7,651 to Williams' 6,045.

Incumbent District 7 school board member Lou Basanez added 160 votes while her challenger Mary Polish picked up 97 votes. Basanez defeated Polish by a 7,653 to 5,863 margin.

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