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electionlineWeekly — November 30, 2017

Table of Contents

 III. Election Day 2017

Michigan: Wayne County Judge Robert Colombo has thrown out a lawsuit against Detroit Clerk Janice Winfrey which claimed that Winfrey’s office used copies of absentee vote envelopes, rather than originals, to verify voter information for about 1,200 absentee votes dropped off at the clerks’ office on Election Day. Colombo said there was “no evidence” that the office mishandled the ballots or violated state law.

Also in Detroit, candidate for clerk Garlin Gilchrist, II has requested a recount of votes in some precincts. Gilchrist is asking for a recount of all 100 absentee voting boards — or precincts — in the city. He is also looking into possibly requesting a recount of some select precincts where he said he had heard about issues.

Pennsylvania: Officials in York County have completed a review of ballots with potential overvotes and found that there were about 2,900 overvotes.

"Based on the audit and based on the certification of that audit, there is no indication that any overvote would've affected the outcome of this election," county solicitor Glenn Smith told The York Dispatch.

However, The Dispatch and several other media outlets reported that numbers released by elections officials indicate that the West York Borough Council race could have been impacted by the overvotes.

Virginia: Judge Claude M. Hilton declined to force Stafford County to count 55 late-arriving absentee ballots in a close House of Delegates race. “These ballots were late,” he said according to The Washington Post. Everyone, Hilton added, wonders sometimes “what’s wrong with the mail.” But he saw no evidence of “improprieties” here.

Also in Virginia, the State Board of Elections delayed the certification of a close House of Delegates race after it was discovered that 83 voters in Fredericksburg were assigned to the wrong district. The difference in the race is 82 votes. On November 27, the State Board of Elections ultimately certified the races. A candidate in Newport News has filed for a recount in a race decided by 13 votes.

Ties: Much to the surprise of the public, but not to anyone who follows elections, every year there are elections that end in a tie. However, this year, we’ve noticed more tied elections than we have in the past. Whether or not that’s a product of better media coverage (maybe) or low turnout (probably), we don’t know, but it is an interesting look into how localities settle these ties from coin flips to drawing lots to allowing the affected body decide, fortunately there are no draconian process like pistols at high noon.