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"This is Pretty Close"


Quote from: Kathy Cooper--Solano County Election Coordinator

Monday- December 3, 2007               2:05 PM


Solano County Registrar of Voters
By Marc Garman

The recount has begun this morning in the highly contentious and excruciatingly close Vallejo Mayoral race.  At this point, Gary Cloutier is still ahead of Osby Davis by five votes in the official count certified by the Solano County Registrar of Voters (Ira Rosenthal) on Monday November 26.

A total of 19,733 votes were cast in this last mayoral election.

As of 9:20 AM observers from both the Cloutier campaign and the Davis campaign were present.-- Not to mention Cris Villanueva and his brother (who arrived a bit later), Pam Keith (Cloutier's campaign manager) and council member Tony Pearsall.

At this point a decision has been made to challenge all duplicate ballots.  A duplicate ballot is created when an original ballot cannot be read by the high speed scanner used to count ballots. An example given of a troublesome ballot would be one in which the oval indicating a choice has been marked with an X rather than colored in. 

When a duplicate ballot is required, election officials fill out a new ballot clearly so it can be read by machine.  The original ballot is then held aside in a separate envelope for later confirmation.

There was some question raised early on because an original ballot and its duplicate were both found together with the counted ballots.  


Any challenged ballots will be subject to review and a final decision will be made by the registrar of voters. 

     Assistant Registrar of Voters Lindsey McWilliams explains a duplicate ballot to observers and board members.

When interviewed, Assistant Registrar of Voters Lindsey McWilliams seems quite sure as to the accuracy of the electronic scanning machines used to count ballots.

  He states, "If voters follow instructions and fill out the ovals completely, the machines are 100% accurate 100% of the time."  he continued, "but when voters don't, then the machines are only as good as the marks."

When questioned as to the time and cost of the recount, McWilliams indicated that the recount would cost $4368 per day (estimated) and should take 3 days.  If there are a large number of contested ballots the counting could

ballot scanning machine

extend into 4 days.  That puts the cost for Osby Davis in the $12-$16 thousand dollar range. Unless of course
Osby wins.  In that case, according to the registrar of voters, he gets his money back. 
Assistant Registrar McWilliams seems confident in the accuracy of the vote count certified by his office.  Of course, considering the slim margin, a recount was inevitable.  Whether the recount changes the outcome or not, the new mayor faces a seemingly insurmountable challenge in light of the impending bankruptcy facing Vallejo.


Hands of an observer painstakingly keeping track