Official Recount Is Now Underway

09/08/10 5:50PM By Bob Kinzel
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AP Photo/Toby Talbot

(Host) The formal recount of votes in the Democratic gubernatorial race is now underway in County Court houses throughout the state.

Peter Shumlin holds a 197 vote lead over Doug Racine.

But as VPR's Bob Kinzel reports, nearly 75,000 ballots will be recounted to see if the original vote total is accurate.

(Sounds of recount)

(Kinzel) The Washington County Court House was a beehive of activity as volunteers began the process of recounting ballots from the August 24th Democratic primary.

Six tables with four people at each table filled the middle of courtroom.

Claire Mee is the court clerk in Washington County and she's heading up the entire statewide recount.

(Mee) "We've got 3 rooms going this is the hand count room and we've got 2 tabulator rooms in... Washington County we actually had enough counters come in we had enough to set up as many as we've got going."

(Kinzel) Ballots from all 21 towns in Washington County are kept in sealed bags.  Mee says the counters then tackle one town at a time.

(Mee) "There's a table of four with the clerk that's a clerk observer table the clerk will open the sealed bag observed by the clerk observer table and then they break the ballots down into piles of 50 each pile of 50 will be handed to one of the five tables that count it out when they get done doing that it goes back to the clerk to put on the master list and the clerk observing team makes sure the right numbers go down."  

(Kinzel) The counters pore over the ballots and sometimes they don't agree on the numbers.

(Recount) "7? Is that right? No what you got 8? What I think you need to do is read each one off just like he did. Ok, ok. Because sometimes they get stuck together."

(Kinzel) This is the first year that ballots originally tabulated on an optical scan machine will be recounted using the machines.  Mee says this should help speed up the recount but she adds that it's not a simple process.

(Mee) "They bring their machines and then each town had to provide if they do the optical scanners a memory chip in their bags of ballots and that goes into the machine so we have to clear the machine out after each town and then put in a new memory chip in."

(Kinzel) Overall, Mee says the recount is going fairly well.

(Mee) "We have a lot of people it seems to be going smoothly so if we keep up with this pace and we've already had one machine break down we have had it fixed if they don't break down again and keep at this pace you know maybe next Wednesday is a realistic goal maybe."

(Kinzel) Court officials say they expect to have a good sense of when the recount will be completed by late Thursday afternoon.

For VPR News, I'm Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.



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