County Executive Jeff Smith announced Friday that the Registrar of Voters will conduct a post-election manual tally of 1 percent of precincts to ensure the accuracy of electronic vote scanners. The recount is not related to any particular local race, he noted in a statement, but it offers a last-gasp hope to candidates who trail by close margins.
The county's voting system has been under close scrutiny after it was reported that IT director Joseph Le quit the day before the election. CBS and several other media outlets have reported that he did not return county property, including a hard drive, and speculated that this may have affected election results.
“Contrary to news reports, no voter information is missing,” Smith said. “Voters may rest assured that the county has possession of the hard drive and other data reported missing in the media.”
Sources told San Jose Inside last week that Le had a role in several mistakes leading up to the election, including the omission of candidate information on sample ballots, which resulted in superiors taking away his ability to sign off on projects. Le reportedly took issue with his role being diminished.
Smith added that he cannot comment any further on the matter, presumably because it falls under the realm of personnel.
Adding a little tone—but no exclamation points—Smith said the county "will not be conducting an election recount. I am confident that the manual tally will confirm the election results.” That italicized emphasis could be reserved for several outspoken critics of the ROV, but mostly likely is directed at supporters of San Jose mayoral candidate Dave Cortese, who at last count trails Sam Liccardo by just 1.54 percent of the vote, 91,785 to 89,016.
Below is the full county press release:
County of Santa Clara to Conduct Routine Post Election One Percent Manual Tally
Small Manual Count of Votes Required by Law to Confirm Machine Results
SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF.—Today, the County of Santa Clara announced that it is near completion of the count of provisional ballots from the November 4, 2014 General Election. The count is expected to be completed by Sunday night.
In compliance with Elections Code section 15360, the next step in the process is to conduct a post-election manual tally of one percent of the precincts chosen at random. The Elections Code ensures that all races are included in this process. The ballots are counted by hand and compared to the machine count.
Amidst speculation concerning the timing of the former IT Manager’s last day of employment, which was November 3rd, the County’s Registrar of Voters requested on November 7th, that the California Secretary of State conduct a review of the election. The Secretary of State’s Office will not conduct a review and the County is proceeding with the post election tally as prescribed by the California Elections Code.
“Contrary to news reports, no voter information is missing,” said County Executive Jeffrey V. Smith. “Voters may rest assured that the County has possession of the hard drive and other data reported missing in the media.”
“I cannot comment any further on that matter,” Smith continued. “However, we will not be conducting an election recount. I am confident that the manual tally will confirm the election results.”