44 more ballots found; Richland elections officials told to search offices

jmonk@thestate.comNovember 15, 2012 

Forty-four more ballots cast in the Nov. 6 elections were discovered at the Richland County Elections & Voter Registration office late Thursday afternoon.

The discovery – on top of 150 uncounted ballots discovered Thursday morning – is yet another embarrassment to an election process that nearly everyone agrees was grossly mismanaged.

The afternoon finding prompted elections officials to order employees to give their suite of offices a thorough search to see if there are any more ballots still missing.

The 150 or so misplaced ballots discovered Thursday morning were in sealed bags. After those ballots were counted Thursday afternoon, the additional batch of lost ballots was found.

Elections officials had thought they had counted all ballots in the Nov. 6 general election on Wednesday in a marathon 11-hour session at the county administration building.

That Wednesday count was delayed a week because of questions about the elections and court actions.

It’s believed neither discovery will affect the outcome of any race, but with all the unexpected events in the Nov. 6 election, no one could say that for certain.

The election commisison is scheduled meet at 8 a.m. Friday at the county administration building to certify the election’s results – making the counting official – after handling the usual challenged ballots and provisionally cast ballots.

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