County election recount underway

The recount in the Cascade County clerk and recorder election is underway at Exhibition Hall at the fairgrounds.

As of about 2 p.m., only four precincts had been completely counted and all four of those matched the machine counts exactly.

Those precincts equate to about 2,700 ballots. About 30,000 votes were cast in the clerk and recorders race.

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The official election results have incumbent Rina Fontana Moore trailing Republican challenger by 31 votes.

That’s well within the margin under state of a quarter of a percent of the votes cast in the race that allows the losing candidate to request a recount at the county’s expense.

County Commissioners voted on Nov. 22 to hire a third party consultant to oversee the recount. Commissioners said they wanted to avoid any conflicts of interest for the elections staff, real or perceived.

County officials preparing for expected recount

The total cost will depend on the method and staffing used as well as the number of days required but Rutherford’s bid amount for his services to run the process is $4,300 plus per diem and travel assuming a one-day recount, Commissioner Joe Briggs told The Electric.

Several members of the public who have asked commissioners and county officials to go to a full hand count for all elections since May attended the Nov. 22 meeting and told commissioners the recount wasn’t necessary.

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Merchant filed a civil lawsuit on Nov. 25 and amended her complaint at 12:10 p.m. Nov. 28, four hours after the recount process had begun. She’s requesting a court ordered injunction to stop the recount.

Without an order from a district court judge, the county is proceeding as planned with the recount process.

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In her complaint, Merchant alleges that the county did not provide notice of the recount or explanation of the process.

The county publicly noticed and held a special meeting on Nov. 22 regarding the recount and the process by which the county intended to use, which includes about 25 county staff members counting the roughly 30,000 ballots by hand.

Briggs issued a press release regarding the recount on Nov. 23.

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Merchant also wrote in her complaint that Moore did not file the required request for a recount. According to county commissioners and the county attorney’s office, the proper legal request was filed on Nov. 22.

The losing candidate has five days from the official canvas to file such a request, according to state law.

Officials told The Electric on Nov. 28 that they don’t anticipate completing the recount on Monday, but possibly by Nov. 29.