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Revised numbers add to turnout in Craven election  (NC)

Sue Book   ENC Today.Com   13 November 2008

At least 3,643 more votes were cast in Craven County than originally reported in unofficial election results, bringing the voter turnout up from 60.65 to 65.2 percent.

The added votes do not change the outcome of any election winners.

In the only local race that could have been reversed by the added votes, state Rep. Alice Underhill's new vote total of 12,504 pulled her closer to Republican opponent Norman Sanderson with 12,835 votes. With her win in Pamlico County, the new numbers virtually insure her victory and return to Raleigh for a fourth term.

The changes made to still unofficial totals posted on the N.C. Board of Elections Web site show 44,459 ballots cast by the county's 68,190 registered voters in early one-stop, mail-in absentee, and Election Day voting.

The additional votes surfaced when state elections technician Rosemary Blizzard worked with the Craven County elections director on Thursday to "read the media cards back into the tabulation software," Blizzard said.

"We are in the process of doing an audit which is not quite finished but will be by the time the canvass is done tomorrow," she said. "There was an error on a flash card at the main one-stop sight. Partial results downloaded election night from that site."

"I believe there were also some data entry errors which unfortunately happen," Blizzard said. "That's why the results are unofficial until after the canvass."

She said there will probably be at least 54 more votes to add to results once the audit is complete.

At this point there also appears to be a reporting error in how the machines categorized the votes it recorded, resulting in some being placed incorrectly into the absentee-by-mail votes, Blizzard said.

Most everything else left to do is normal operating procedure, said Blizzard, who plans to work with the elections staff for several hours this morning to complete the audit and further checks.

The new vote totals add a percentage point to Democratic President-elect Barack Obama's total in Craven but still give Republican John McCain a Craven County victory with 55.73 percent of the vote.

And the new numbers fatten Governor-elect Bev Perdue's win with 54.84 percent to Republican challenger Pat McCrory's 40.83 percent.

When the Craven County Board of Elections canvasses the election returns Friday, more votes could also be added from the 940 provisional ballots that were cast.

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