COUNTY CLERK ID’S HEADCOUNT GLITCH IN ELECTION PRINTOUTS; RACES UNAFFECTED

COUNTY CLERK ID’S HEADCOUNT GLITCH IN ELECTION PRINTOUTS; RACES UNAFFECTED

Doña Ana County Clerk Rita Torres said Thursday that a data-entry error in the absentee-voter bureau artificially inflated the headcount of absentee voters on printouts distributed to the media and various candidates.
Although none of the election results were affected, Torres said, residents who added up figures on the county’s website and initial precinct tally listings might have been led to believe that more absentee votes were cast than were actually tallied.
“Due to the high number of absentee ballot requests this year,” Torres said, “we had to hire additional, temporary staff to help in the Bureau of Elections. Somehow in all the activity of Election Night, the number of absentee ballots we actually received was incorrectly and significantly over-reported on our media-release and website forms.”
In all, Torres said, the county processed 6,117 absentee ballots. Due to data-entry errors on the county’s web page and voter-results forms, however, the number of absentee and early voters was initially reported as 14,852.
“We actually received 7,274 requests,” Torres said, “of which 6,117 were returned and processed. We apologize for the wrong headcount ending up on our reports. It was an innocent error that was not completely rectified until Thursday afternoon, after the Bureau of Elections, my office and the computer programmers were able to hammer it all out.”
Torres stressed that none of the unofficial election results released by the county had changed.
“The unofficial election vote-counts printed and broadcast by regional media remain correct,” Torres said. “We expect the canvassing board to certify these elections without any problem.”
The only votes remaining to be counted, Torres said, are the paper emergency ballots which the canvassing board must process independently. Torres estimated there may be about 100 emergency ballots, although she said the number can’t be verified until the canvassing board meets. Those ballots were marked on paper by voters who claimed they did not receive their absentee ballots in time to vote in the Nov. 3 election.