Local News

Election Officials Start Counting Questionable Ballots

Posted November 4, 2004

— Election officials began the tedious task of looking at questionable ballots from Tuesday's election by hand on Thursday.

The ballot instructions showed voters how to complete the arrow on the ballot, but hundreds of people scribbled dots, drew double lines or put the line in the wrong place. The voting machines could not read those ballots.

"They know they're in there to vote and they don't really pay attention to the specific instructions," said Cherie Poucher, of the Wake County Board of Elections. "With the number of people we had vote this time, there are probably many people who have never voted on the system before."

With so many close races, some candidates are watching the count for themselves. Debra Sasser is down by just 132 votes in the race for a District Court judge seat in Wake County.

"They're trying to make sure they determine intent and that's what I heard, but I just wanted to come down and see what happened just to feel that sense of comfort," Sasser said.

Grier Martin, a candidate for the state House, is winning by 566 votes. He sent a representative to watch.

"We're not declaring victory until that last vote is counted just to be sure," said Perry Woods.

The machines also cannot read the names of write-in candidates, so those are also being counted by hand. Officials said between the mismarked ballots and the hundreds of provisional ballots in Wake County, some election results could change.

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