As unproven allegations of election fraud continued to swirl on a national level, Greene County voters can rest a little easier this week.
After two days of work, bipartisan teams under the direction of County Clerk Shane Schoeller, a Republican, finished a hand recount of votes cast in four randomly selected precincts Monday and found no signs of tampering.
The review, which is required by state regulations, is designed to ensure the machine-counted results haven’t been tainted by outside interference or an internal malfunction.
“The concern,” Schoeller said, “is that someone could do something to alter the way the ballots are counted and thereby shift the results, so we want to make sure that didn’t happen.”
The bipartisan teams specifically looked at votes for one statewide race, one statewide ballot issue, one legislative race, one judicial retention race, and a local county seat race to get a solid cross-section of the contests on the ballot last week.
Sure enough, “all of the manual recount tabulations matched the totals for the equipment,” Schoeller said.
The procedure does not preempt official recounts of individual races where the candidates are separated by less than half a percentage point, which is currently the case in House District 135, where Democrat Betsy Fogle led Republican Rep. Steve Helms by 0.2 percentage points as of Monday evening.
If that race remains within half of a point after all absentee and military overseas ballots are counted, election workers will do another recount by hand to ensure an accurate total.
Austin Huguelet is the News-Leader’s politics reporter. Got something he should know? Have a question? Call him at 417-403-8096 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.