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Republican Scott County Auditor Kerri Tompkins released an administrative report on the problems her office had handling the 2022 election. As we reported on Wednesday, Republican Luana Stoltenberg has emerged as the winner by 11 votes. She held a 29-vote lead after Election Day, but following a recount, was deemed a loser by six votes.

According to the report, it’s still unknown how things got so jumbled.

Tompkins said the process began with a staff hand count on Sunday, Nov. 6 of each envelope and identified a total of 23,453 envelopes. The Absentee and Special Voters Precinct Board (ASVP) counted and accepted 23,351 envelopes, which identified a discount from staff of 102 envelopes. The number (23,351) does not include what was later rejected by the ASVP Board. It was the number used to start the counts.

The board, which consisted of 23 bipartisan poll workers, began counting ballots on Monday, Nov. 7 and finished on Tuesday, Nov. 8. They used two counting machines and “experienced numerous issues with the machines jamming.”

“This consists of the machines stopping and ballots becoming ‘crunched together,'” Tompkins’ report said.

A representative from ES&S, the machine vendor, was present to assist with the machines. On Nov. 8, the machine total of counted ballots was 22,874.

Two days later, auditor staff reviewed numbers from the ASVP Board reports and compared them to the machine report. The numbers didn’t match.

“It is important to note each envelope may not have been accepted,” Tompkins wrote in her report. “Some may have had zero ballots, some may have had multiple ballots and therefore, were rejected by the ASVP Board. All of the legal ballots were in the room and under the ASVP custody. The concern was whether or not every legal ballot was counted via the machine.”

Following further review, Tompkins called the Secretary of State’s office to ask for an administrative recount.

On Monday, Nov. 14, the ASVP Board met to review ballots from the final deadline of noon that day. An additional 23 ballots were reviewed and accepted. The updated expected total grew to 23,362, which is reflective of the rejected ballots.

On Tuesday, Nov. 15, the recount took place using the machines — which jammed…again. The total recount number from the Nov. 15 recount was 23,395.

On Thursday, Nov. 17, the process continued with a hand count of every legal ballot. The total ballot count from that process was 23,297.

On Friday, Nov. 18, the process was finalized with a machine count. All but two bins matched between the hand count and the machine count. The total count was 23,362.

Tompkins said it is still unclear if the original discrepancy was due to the machines or human error.

“Videos have been reviewed and nothing stands out via our process from Election Day,” she said. “However, we will review our processes with ES&S and other stakeholders for additional clarity.”

Tompkins said internal practices will be modified as necessary and the office has been coordinating efforts with the Secretary of State’s office.

“Our goal is to ensure accuracy,” she said.

Here is a chart of the administrative recount numbers:



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