Election laws are necessarily strict and detailed. Even seemingly minor issues can compromise the legitimacy and accuracy of the process, which is why election officials must be compliant and careful.
Unfortunately, people make mistakes. And in the context of an election, these human errors could cause considerable confusion and controversy. For instance, recently, county officials discovered a missing ballot box, which could reverse a vote approving a $569 million bond to build two new schools.
Slim margins, inaccurate recount numbers
The vote has been a close one from the very beginning. Reports indicate that results were hardly sound when the election website first reported that the measure passed by just 18 votes.
In fact, it was just minutes later when officials corrected the number saying it actually failed by 25 votes after counting mail-in votes.
Still, the results were not final. The slim margin of votes opposing the bond triggered a recount. After manually recounting the ballots, officials declared that the measure passed by just 11 votes. This result was made official, despite the fact that more than 800 ballots were missing from the manual recount.
The official result has again been challenged after a staffer found a missing ballot box in an office. It contains the 836 ballots that were not part of the manual recount. Whether the election results will change in light of the discovered ballots is still unknown.
Every vote counts
This case illustrates the degree to which elections can be swayed by just a handful of votes. It also highlights the dramatic consequences of mistakes by election officials and the importance of training and oversight for elections at every level.
Every aspect of an election can be subject to state laws, from how many officials must sign a sealed ballot box to how committees must perform a recount. Failures or mistakes at any point could call the results of a vote into question.
It is crucial that every vote is counted properly, whether people are voting on million-dollar bonds for school buildings or political representatives. Should any questions or concerns arise regarding an election, legal counsel can be crucial.