Will County Chair race end up in a recount?

Nearly 1,600 votes won’t be counted due to missing or invalid signatures

CLARK COUNTY — Voters whose ballots hadn’t been counted due to missing or invalid signatures had until 5 p.m. on Monday to turn in an affidavit to the Clark County Elections Division in order to “cure” their ballot and have it counted.

County Auditor Greg Kimsey says they had slightly over 2,200 challenged ballots following the November general election. As of Monday afternoon Kimsey said they had 1,590 envelopes with signatures that were either missing, or couldn’t be verified.

All of this matters because the candidates for Clark County Chair have been out hunting down every possible vote, as that race remains too close to call. Numbers released Monday afternoon showed current District 4 Councilor Eileen Quiring, a republican, leading democrat challenger Eric Holt by 986 votes. That means Holt picked up 21 votes over totals released last week, but still remains 0.52 percent behind Quiring.

It wasn’t immediately clear on Monday how many more ballots could potentially remain to be counted. Holt would need to get within half a percentage point in order to trigger an automatic recount. By state law that would generally be a machine recount, but Kimsey says, “If there is a recount, we will go to a hand recount.”

The reason for that, Kimsey says, is that both recount methods take approximately the same amount of time. And since the initial count is done by machine, a hand recount allows for immediate comparison between the two methods.

“So if there’s any variance between the hand count and the machine count, we really hone in on that one precinct and then really determine why is there that variance,” says Kimsey.

The elections office says they expect the final unofficial vote count to be released by around 3:30 p.m. today. The vote would then be certified by the end of the business day. If a recount ends up being necessary, it could take some time.

“The sorting of the ballots would take about three or four full days,” says Kimsey, “and then the recount itself will take three, four, or possibly five days as well.”

Ballots are counted by precinct, but then sorted and stored in batches. Kimsey says they would need to be re-sorted by precinct, in order to compare the hand recount against the machine count precinct-by-precinct.

Kimsey says past recounts have shown small differences in vote totals, but it remains unlikely that Holt could make up the entire difference of nearly a thousand votes. Quiring says she remains optimistic that the race is over, and she will ultimately be the next Chair of Clark County.

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