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Bonner County election officials discover 396 uncounted ballots from November election

UPDATED: Fri., Dec. 14, 2018

Idaho House of Representatives candidate Ellen Weissman(D), left Heather Scott (R) Idaho State Representative, center and Idaho House of Representatives candidate Stephen Howlett(D) wait for their turn to talk during the Primary Candidates' Forum on May, 8, 2018. Each of those candidates also were on the general election ballot last month. The Bonner County elections office acknoledged in December 2018 that they neglected to count 396 ballots from the November election. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
Idaho House of Representatives candidate Ellen Weissman(D), left Heather Scott (R) Idaho State Representative, center and Idaho House of Representatives candidate Stephen Howlett(D) wait for their turn to talk during the Primary Candidates' Forum on May, 8, 2018. Each of those candidates also were on the general election ballot last month. The Bonner County elections office acknoledged in December 2018 that they neglected to count 396 ballots from the November election. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

Bonner County elections officials noticed something was wrong on Wednesday when they tried to balance the number of registered voters against the number of ballots counted.

After the same problem kept emerging in several precincts, county officials re-checked one of the three locked file cabinets where the ballots were kept following the November general election. In the bottom of one of the cabinets were 396 uncounted ballots, said Charlie Wurm, the senior elections supervisor.

“I wish I had an explanation, but I don’t,” Wurm said of how the 396 ballots were missed. “It was about 2 percent of our voters.”

However, the newly discovered ballots did not change the outcome of any elections.

“Even if 100 percent of the voters voted for the second-place candidates, none of the races would have been overturned,” Wurm said. “We’ve got new procedures. So, absolutely, this will not happen again.”

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