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Eye On Boise

Recount requested in District 6 legislative race, set for next week

The Idaho Attorney General’s office has received a request for a recount of the Nez Perce County portion of a District 6 legislative race, from losing candidate Thyra Stevenson, a Republican. Stevenson lost to Democrat Dan Rudolph by 26 votes. Mike Kingsley, who lost to House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, by 48 votes, also is considering a recount request, but the Lewiston Tribune reported this week that he's waiting to see the outcome of Stevenson's. The district also includes Lewis County, but the recount was requested only for the 33 precincts in Nez Perce County. Deputy Attorney General Mike Gilmore and Chief Deputy Secretary of State Tim Hurst will head north to do the recount early next week, to get it done before the Thanksgiving holiday; click below for more.

Because Nez Perce County uses optical-scan ballot-counting, they’ll take a random sample of the optical scan ballots and hand count them to make sure the machine is functioning properly, then run the recount through the optical-scan machine. “We audit the machine, make sure it works,” Hurst said. The reason for the rush: Legislators take office Dec. 1, and have their organizational session Dec. 4.

The candidate requesting the recount must pay $100 per precinct to cover costs, though the difference between actual costs and the amount they paid will be refunded to them afterward.

Hurst and Gilmore have done nearly half a dozen recounts of optical-scan election results over the years; none saw a change in outcome. Hurst said the only outcome-changing recount he helped oversee was one three years ago in a city election in Driggs that used hand-counted paper ballots. That election had initially come out tied; the candidate who requested the recount ended up losing by one vote.

In Nez Perce County on election night, a zip disk drive went out that would have automatically reported the results from the tabulator, so election workers entered the results from the tabulator manually into a spreadsheet. The county got a new zip drive the next day and loaded the results; they came out identical to those manually entered into the spreadsheet.  Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa said, “We have a lot of confidence in what the clerk and county officials did.”

Statewide, from the unofficial election results tallied in legislative races on election night to the final results certified today by the state Board of Canvassers, not a single vote changed. Ysursa said, “I’m pretty confident that the recount will uphold the results.”

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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