Frost requests partial recount

The Associated Press

SANTA FE — A Democratic state Senate candidate who lost his race to the Republican incumbent by 36 votes has asked for a partial recount.

Quay County rancher Bob Frost asked for a recount of paper ballots in 11 precincts in the big, east-side district represented by Sen. Clint Harden, R-Clovis.

The secretary of state received the request Thursday. No date has been set for the recount, but by law it must get under way by Dec. 16.

Frost asked for the recount in seven precincts in Colfax County, three in Taos County and one in Union County. The district covers all or parts of seven counties.

According to election results certified by the state canvassing board on Nov. 23, Harden got 9,010 votes and Frost 8,974.

Harden said he was “not surprised, but disappointed” at Frost’s request.

“These county clerks are good. I’ll be really surprised if there’s a mistake. … I think the votes are solid,” the senator said Friday.

Frost could not be reached for comment.

According to the secretary of state’s office, Frost’s was the only request it received for a recount of votes from the Nov. 2 general election, other than the request by Green and Libertarian candidates for a recount in the presidential race. Friday was the deadline for such requests.

“Everybody that has been involved with the election is tired,” Harden said. “Bush won. I won. Let’s get it over.”

Frost asked for a recount of paper ballots — absentee, early, emergency and provisional.

The state canvassing board, which likely will meet next week, may issue a decision on whether provisional ballots may be recounted, according to the attorney general. The board consists of the governor, the secretary of state and the chief justice of the state Supreme Court.

The question arose because provisional ballots — used for the first time this year in a presidential race — are not specifically mentioned in the state’s recount law.

“We believe the strongest legal argument is that qualified provisional ballots should be considered part of the universe of paper ballots and thus should be subject to recount,” Assistant Attorney General Zachary Shandler wrote to the canvassing board Friday.

Provisional ballots that were rejected and never counted would not be subject to review, he said.

Provisional ballots, required by federal law, were used by voters whose names weren’t on the voting rosters when they showed up at polling places.