Waiting game appears over

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

After almost a full day of rechecking vote totals Wednesday, Curry County officials have released the final results from Tuesday’s primary elections.

All projected winners maintained their leads Wednesday after the reverification.

The winners of the contested races are:

• Dan Stoddard, Republican, District 2 County Commission

• Seth Martin, Republican, District 4 County Commission

• Wendell Bostwick, Democrat, District 4 County Commission

• Caleb Chandler, Republican, District 5 County Commission

“We have numbers that… I believe are very close to perfect if not perfect,” County Election Manager Coni Jo Lyman said around 3 p.m. Wednesday.

“We’ve got a couple of couple provisional ballots out there (that need to be counted), but I think that we’re pretty much locked and loaded.”

Curry County officials said Wednesday morning they were unsure of vote numbers tabulated after the polls closed in Tuesday’s primary election and suggested the possibility contested positions might be affected with the reverification.

“We know we have a problem in the (computer) software, we don’t know exactly what it is, we don’t trust our numbers. We’re not 100 percent comfortable with the numbers that are in the system. We don’t think that they are significantly off but we do think there are some differences.”

Lyman said a software technician traveled to Clovis on Wednesday morning to assist with the verification and will be taking the device that reads voting machine memory cards back to the company for evaluation, she said.

Meanwhile, Lyman said personnel were comparing each tape of vote numbers to posted database results.

In one of the closest local races, Stoddard said he went to bed Wednesday morning with the understanding he had taken the spot with a seven-vote edge over Alan Sumrall in the District 2 Republican race.

Earlier in the day Wednesday morning, Stoddard admitted he was surprised to learn the votes were being re-verified.

“I’m feeling very confident. It’s been close, it’s been a great race, we both worked hard,” he said.

“I’m definitely anxious, unfortunately it just happens to be the way it’s going for our race. Hopefully they can get it settled before the general election.”

Even results finalized today are still unofficial, Lyman said, explaining the officials results are not stamped by the governor for up to 40 days from the election.

The software used in Tuesday’s election and mandated by the state has only been used one other time, in the 2006 general election, Lyman said.

Voting results were delayed then also, with officials citing software issues and statewide server crashes on election night.

In the 2006 election, county officials reverted to a previously used software version to verify results before they were confident enough to declare the final tallies, according to CNJ archives.

“It takes time and I know that people get frustrated but in the years I’ve worked here, we’ve been here later than 2:30 (a.m.) a time or two. All I can say is I’m sorry,” Lyman said.

Lyman said candidates have been contacting her office and are anxious to know the final results. A candidate herself, she said she understood their desire to know the outcome.

“They want to know and we’re doing the best we can. We’re doing everything humanly possible. Life in the election industry is tough, especially when we have gotten our society dependent on Internet technology and software,” she said.