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Idaho primary election audit finds tiny number of miscues

UPDATED: Wed., June 1, 2022

Idaho Gov. Brad Little is cheered by attendees and family after declaring victory in the gubernatorial primary during the Republican Party’s primary election celebration on May 17 at the Hilton Garden Inn hotel in Boise.  (Spokesman-Review wire archives)
Idaho Gov. Brad Little is cheered by attendees and family after declaring victory in the gubernatorial primary during the Republican Party’s primary election celebration on May 17 at the Hilton Garden Inn hotel in Boise. (Spokesman-Review wire archives)
By Keith Ridler Associated Press

BOISE — A audit of Idaho’s May primary found only six variations from initial results of about 20,000 ballots chosen at random from precincts in eight counties, officials said Wednesday.

The Idaho secretary of state’s office released a third and final set of results from the three-day audit of the May 17 primary election in which about a third of Idaho’s nearly 1 million registered voters cast ballots.

The audit found that five of the six variations were due to sorting errors, and that one couldn’t be immediately explained.

“It reinforces what we’ve been saying for the last several years — that Idaho’s election process is solid,” said Chief Deputy Secretary of State Chad Houck.

The audit follows a new law passed unanimously earlier this year by the House and Senate to increase public confidence in election results by checking paper ballots. The audit is a way to also check the equipment and procedures used to count votes in the state’s 44 counties.

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, an ally of former President Donald Trump, made unsubstantiated claims and floated conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election in multiple states in an attempt to undermine voter confidence in the outcome. That extended even to Idaho, where Trump easily won the deeply conservative state with nearly 64% of the vote.

But Idaho officials said a partial recount of ballots cast in that election validated the results, rejecting Lindell’s claims.

At least three Republican statewide candidates who lost in Idaho’s recent primary repeated Trump’s false claims that the 2020 presidential election was rigged. Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin lost to Gov. Brad Little in the primary for governor. Rep. Dorothy Moon and Sen. Mary Souza lost to Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane in the primary for secretary of state.

Ada, Bannock, Bonneville, Idaho, Jerome, Kootenai, Madison and Payette counties took part in the audit.

State officials said a secondary report involving lessons learned will be released later this month.

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