Recount of county treasurer ballots in progress

The recount in the county treasurer’s race started at 10 am today, with the first hands-on-ballots at 10:12. Chris Henning, Sean Sebourn and Tom Yepsen comprise the recount board.

Pictured (from left) are Billie Jo Hoskins, Sean Sebourn, Tom Yepsen, Chris Henning and Jane Heun.

Ballots are stored in tamper-evident bags after the election. The bags are opened only for a recount. Pictured are the 1,785 early/absentee ballots.

The task is daunting. Each one of the 4,133 ballots must first be counted into groups of 10, with all three members of the recount board verifying that each group has exactly 10 ballots.

The next step is to sort the ballots into three sets – those that are clearly for Donna Lawson, those that are clearly for Katlynn Gannon/Mechaelson, and those that are  questionable. For those, the recount board will determine the most likely intention of the voter. Once those questionable ballots are put into one of the other two piles, votes for each candidate will be counted again into groups of 10 and verified by all three board members.

The ballots are being counted by precinct, starting with the 1,785 absentee ballots. The regular precincts will be counted in alphabetical order: Central, East, Jefferson 1, Jefferson 2, Jefferson 3, North and West.

Board members requested they not be told precinct totals from the Election Day count as they go, and that no result  be released until all the precincts are counted.

The board will work through regular working hours Monday and Tuesday. Members hope to complete the job sometime Tuesday. Either county auditor Jane Heun or deputy county auditor for elections Billie Jo Hoskins must be with the board the entire time to assure ballot security.

The recount was requested by incumbent county treasurer Lawson after she lost the election to Michealsen by only two votes.


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