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Voting Machine Malfunctions To Trigger Primary Election Recounts In Two Area Counties

Northwest Iowa — At least two area counties are positioning themselves to conduct County Auditor-Requested recounts of ballots cast in Tuesday’s Primary Election.

According to O’Brien County Auditor Barb Rohwer, the O’Brien County Board of Supervisors met in emergency session Thursday morning to approve Rohwer’s request for a recount.

Rohwer tells KIWA she made her request to the Supervisors after being made aware that there were some technical issues with voting machines in multiple Iowa counties during Tuesday’s election. Rohwer says there were multiple instances of machines experiencing paper jams when voters were inserting their ballot into the tabulator. She says that caused the number on the tabulator to increase and lead to the appearance that more ballots were cast than voters who signed a Declaration of Eligibility. Rohwer says her office is working closely with their election equipment vendor to identify and resolve the issues that may have caused this problem.

Rohwer says at the end of Primary Election night, four O’Brien County precincts noted that the ballots cast were different by one of the signed declarations of eligibility slips. She says the precincts involved in O’Brien County were: Sheldon Ward 1; Sheldon Ward 2; Sheldon Ward 3; and the Summit-Dale-Highland Precincts. Rohwer says there were a total of four ballots were in question.

In order to protect the integrity of the election and to ensure that every vote has been counted correctly, she says that as the O’Brien County Commissioner of Elections and at the recommendation of the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office, she called Thursday morning’s emergency supervisor’s meeting to request their permission to conduct a recount.

Rohwer tells KIWA the recount will be conducted once the Recount Commission can meet. She says she hopes to have it completed in time for the Supervisors to canvas the vote at their regular meeting Tuesday morning.

In addition, KIWA has received information from the Sioux County Auditor’s Office that they are requesting an Administrative Recount of ballots cast in their county, as well. In Sioux County, officials say the selected recount locations are Orange City #1 an Holland SW precincts. They say the discovered issue affected less than 10 ballots.