Clay County begins recount, checking over 44,000 ballots after three races possibly affected

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LIBERTY, Mo. — Election night irregularities have led to a recount in Clay County.

Staffers at the Clay County Election Board said a candidate noticed some unusual totals, which led them to re-tally numbers from Tuesday’s primary.

Members of the county’s election authority said the irregularities were caused by a computer error, and likely, nothing malicious. 

Tiffany Francis, Clay County Election Board’s Democrat director, said some votes cast on the county’s election touchscreens weren’t factored into the final court, even thought they were properly recorded.

On Thursday, the election board office on W. Mississippi Street filled with election workers prepared to recount more than 44,000 ballots to ensure the vote was counted correctly, 

“We’ve never had this happen before. In fact, our vendor said they’ve never seen it before either,” Francis said.

Jon Carpenter, a candidate for Clay County Commission, said he notified election officials when he noticed several precincts reporting zero votes, which he knew to be incorrect. 

“My biggest question is: What is the actual vote total? Making sure we get the accurate and fair results of the election,” Carpenter said.

Thursday’s recount was expected to take 5-6 hours to complete. As of 5 p.m., an election official told FOX4 the project was halfway complete.

This is believed to be Clay County’s first-ever recount needed before the final tally was reached. 

“There’s no conspiracy here. There’s no trying to rig votes for one or the other. That’s all we care about — that the votes are accurate,” said Patty Lamb, Clay County Election Board’s Republican director. 

Lamb said three races were potentially affected by the computer error, including two races for the county commission and the race for Clay County’s Sheriff’s post.

A customary hand count was also planned for Thursday. Certified results of this recount won’t be available until next week.

“We just want to be completely transparent in this process,” Francis said. “We want to make sure the voters feel secure that the votes are accurate. Obviously, at the end of it, we want to be able to certify official election results that every vote is counted and accurate.”

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