Vote Recount Gets Under Way
08/31/10 5:50PM By Bob Kinzel  Download MP3
(Host) The election of Peter Shumlin as the Democratic candidate for Governor has been formally certified by the State's Election Canvassing Committee.
The report shows that Shumlin's margin of victory was 197 votes over Doug Racine.
Now that the certification vote is complete, the process for a formal recount can begin.
VPR's Bob Kinzel reports.
(Kinzel) Vermont's Canvassing committee has a representative from each of the state's 3 major political parties, along with Secretary of State Deb Markowitz and State Election Director Kathy DeWolfe.
DeWolfe presented the committee with the formal results of all of the statewide primary races:
(DeWolfe) "Basically what the responsibility of the committee is, is to sign each of the certificates of nomination. They're called certificates of nomination because the primary election is a nomination process. So we're going to start with the U.S. Senate."
(Kinzel) The committee spent roughly 20 minutes signing multiple copies of the results of every statewide race.
Markowitz, who was a Democratic candidate for governor and finished in third place roughly 700 votes behind Shumlin, told the committee that this will be the first year that optical scan machines will be used in a recount. She says this will help the recount go faster:
(Markowitz) "The majority of voters in Vermont vote in towns that have the ballots read by optical scan machines...what that will do for this recount is it will make it much more quick and it will be a much easier process for the Courts to oversee."
(Kinzel) But because every town that has an optical scan machine has a slightly different computerized ballot program, Elections Director DeWolfe says each town will have to bring their own machine or memory card to the local County Court House for the recount:
(DeWolfe) "The memory cards for each machine will need to be there. The same tabulator can be used but in most cases it all comes in a nice little case and it's easier to bring the tabulator and memory cards together."
(Kinzel) Markowitz also told the Canvassing Committee that Vermont law gives voters more leeway in a recount:
(Markowitz) "Understand that in some other states the rules are you follow the directions or your vote doesn't count. In Vermont, somebody who doesn't follow the directions and fill in the little circle - their vote could still count if it's clear what the voter intended to do on the ballot."
(Kinzel) It's expected that the actual recounting of votes will begin in the middle of next week at County Courthouses throughout the state.
For VPR News, I'm Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.