By Sarah Pridgeon
Following a recount to ensure accuracy for a tightly contested seat, Theresa Curren has officially been confirmed the winner in the race for County Assessor at last week’s primary election.
Curren faced opponent Lisa Fletcher at the ballot and the initial count put just six votes between them. Curren was reported to have 1136 votes and Fletcher to have 1130.
A recount was required by Wyoming statute as the difference was less than one percent.
The final numbers after the official recount, which took place on Thursday, reduce that margin to three votes. The count for Curren is now 1133 and, for Fletcher, is 1130.
“We did a complete recount of every single ballot and it changed the vote count by three,” says County Clerk Linda Fritz. “The overall count went down from 2588 to 2585.”
The recount, Fritz confirms, “did not change the outcome of the race”.
The vote discrepancy was due to a machine jam that occurred in the absentee polling place on election day, explains Fritz, which caused three ballots to be read twice.
“On election day, when the election judges were here entering the ballots into the M100 machines, because they are folded and with the way they fall into the bins, they do occasionally jam up in the bin and that is what happened,” she says.
“When the jam was cleared and the ballots were run back through, three ballots were counted twice.”
On Thursday, the canvassing board along with Fritz, County Attorney Joe Baron and observers convened in the County Commissioners’ room to manually check all absentee ballots from the affected areas: Aladdin, which was off by one, and Alva, which was off by two.
“We were going to go ahead and do a manual count on the canvass anyway – we knew on election night that we were going to be off by three,” Fritz says.