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Stark County recount finds no change in outcome
Canton Repository  Thursday, December 16, 2004

Ballot-counters examine chads as campaigns watch

For the third time, Sen. John Kerry beat President Bush in Stark County.

On Wednesday, the Stark County Board of Elections began and completed its recount of presidential ballots cast in the Nov. 2 general election.

?Bush picked up four votes, Kerry lost one,? said Board Director Jeff Matthews after the 12-hour recount.

Matthews said ballots from 13 of the county?s 364 precincts first were counted by hand. Initially, 11 of the 13 precincts matched official election results approved earlier this month by the board. When the other two precincts were counted yet another time, those results also matched the official totals.

?It was a blind count,? he said, explaining counters did not know the official numbers ? so they weren?t counting to hit a target figure.

By law, the board first had to hand count 3 percent of the ballots. In Stark County, that amounted to roughly 6,000 ballots, or 13 precincts.

Since the hand count of that segment matched, the remaining 97 percent of ballots were counted with conventional tabulating machines, instead of by hand.

It was the third time votes were counted: On Election Day, for the official count and again on Wednesday.

The National Voting Rights Institute paid $3,640 ? $10 per precinct ? for the recount on behalf of David Cobb.

Cobb received no votes in Stark County.

Presidential candidates Michael Badnarik received 484 in both the official count and Wednesday?s recount, and Michael Anthony Peroutka received 420 votes in both counts.

Vote totals can change slightly between counts, as, for example, loosely attached chads are removed or knocked off in the counting process.

The official and new post-recount vote totals for the two candidates are: Kerry 95,337 and Bush 92,215.

The total ballots cast were 191,781 in both the counts.

Bush beat Kerry by about 119,000 votes in Ohio on Election Day to win the state?s 20 electoral votes. This week, other boards of elections in the 88 counties are conducting similar recounts.

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