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Software glitch found, election results released   (NM)

Kevin Wilson    Clovis News Journal     05 June 2008

After a ballot-counting mistake that pushed into Wednesday afternoon was addressed, a pair of first-time campaigners earned a general election battle against each other.

Seth Martin, a Republican, and Wendell Bostwick, a Democrat, took primary victories Tuesday night for the Curry County Commission District 4 slot.

Other winners in contested races Tuesday were:

• Dan Stoddard, Republican, District 2 County Commission

• Caleb Chandler, Republican, District 5 County Commission

“We have numbers that... I believe are very close to perfect if not perfect,” County Election Manager Coni Jo Lyman said around 3 p.m. Wednesday.

“We’ve got a couple of provisional ballots out there (that need to be counted), but I think that we’re pretty much locked and loaded.”

Even results finalized today are still unofficial, Lyman said, explaining the official results are not stamped by the governor for up to 40 days from the election.

A software glitch, Lyman said, caused precinct totals in an early voting location to be counted more than once. The problem with a memory card used to store results was difficult to identify, Lyman said, because not every precinct total doubled.

“One of the early voting locations, it has put sporadic precincts in twice,” Lyman said. “It would accept results, but said it didn’t scan. You would re-scan, and it would accept that too.”

The vote totals dropped as a result, but Lyman said votes would proportionately and wouldn’t affect any race.

The candidates, waiting on results late Tuesday night, counted results posted at the state’s election site and added precincts individually to get some idea of where they stood.

Bostwick did that, and felt confident when he went to bed about 11 p.m. But he still waited to hear he had secured a 163-139 win over Gloria Wicker.

“This is my first time to do it,” Bostwick said. “You always are a little concerned about lower turnout. It’s anybody’s ballgame when you have 19 percent of the voters who participate.”

Martin also counted the precincts. He discovered in his 176-163 win over Lisa Dunagan that he only won three of the eight precincts voting for his district. However, he carried a 52-22 margin in those three precincts.

“I think the main thing this election has been the few that got out and voted were particular,” said Martin, who praised Dunagan as a great choice for the county but credited rural county residents for his win. “We didn’t have (a lot of) candidates, so it made it a close race.”

Stoddard had supporters counting totals released at every precinct, and went to bed believing he had narrowly defeated Alan Sumrall. That held true Wednesday with a 408-397 win

“I’m definitely anxious, unfortunately it just happens to be the way it’s going for our race,” said Stoddard, who faces Charles “Benny” Adams in the general election. “Hopefully they can get it settled before the general election.”

The only victory not in doubt Tuesday night belonged to Chandler, who took nearly 64 percent of the vote, 686-391 over Charles Guthals. He will face Paul D. Barnes in the general election.

Chandler talked to many residents in Clovis and Texico, and said the biggest concerns he heard were fixing county roads, supporting the Curry County Events Center and keeping taxes low.

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