Tredyffrin Township Democratic Commttee

Hand-Count of Duffy-Heaberg Special Election Ballots in Tredyffrin Finds 61 Uncounted Ballots . . . Changes the Outcome of the Race

A week ago the polls closed, the votes were counted and unofficially Democrat Molly Duffy had won the Special Election against Republican Mike Heaberg by 40 votes.  Chester County Department of Voter Services listed unofficially Duffy receiving 2,266 votes and Heaberg with 2,226 votes.

Immediately following the closing of the polls, there was discussion of voting inaccuracies and talk of machine malfunctions.  We learned first hand from Steve Shapiro, the Judge of Elections at the W-2 precinct, that there were an additional 5 ballots found in the voting machine that were not counted.  There were reports of similar malfunctioning machines at four or five other precincts in the township. As a result, Chester County Voter Services conducted a daylong hand-count yesterday of all 17 voting precincts in Tredyffrin.  Duffy and Heaberg attended the recounting by Voter Services, as did their attorneys and representatives from the Tredyffrin Township Democratic and Republican parties.

Late yesterday, after recounting all the ballots by hand, it was determined that 61 ballots were not originally counted, changing the results of the special election.  Of the 61 ballots found not counted, nine additional votes went to Duffy and 52 additional votes went to Heaberg.  The new unofficial vote total indicates Duffy receiving 2,275 and Heaberg receiving 2,278 . . . a difference of 3 votes, this time in favor of Heaberg. If this total is accurate, it may be the closest supervisor election in the township’s history.

It is my understanding that there was vote count issues found in 12 of the 17 precinctsHow is this possible?  That strikes me as a very high percentage of malfunctioning machines!  However, at this point, it is unclear to me if the problems were attributable only to machine malfunctions or if there were other types of errors.  Who could have predicted that a 40-vote difference in favor of one candidate could change with a recount to favor the other candidate by 3 votes?  What is the probability of that happening?

Again, there is caution that the new special election vote totals are unofficial until certified. Do we believe that the hand-count is accurate and that this final vote count will standOr, will it take 4-5 weeks as previously explained, for the certification process?  Assuming the new hand-count number is correct; will the Democrats challenge the election results?

For me, I’m still stuck on how 61 ballots went uncounted . . . and how many times in past elections has this same scenario played out but may have gone unchecked?  It really makes one wonder.

Bottom line, until there is official confirmation on the special election results, I guess we just need to stay tuned.

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Although the Dark End of the World Predictions Failed, There’s Light for Tredyffrin’s Special Election

If you are reading this, the end of the world predictions failed to pan out for Harold Camping.  The religious broadcaster made the world’s biggest mistake, twice.  Camping got the date wrong in 1994 when he said the world would end that year, and later explained its continued existence by saying he had made a mathematical error.

However, the May 21, 2011 prediction was different; Camping and his followers lavishly spent more than $100 million on billboards and radio advertising.  Now Camping is left shaking his head, bewildered, that things did not go according to his prediction and the world did not end at 6 PM on May 21.  With no Plan B in place, Camping may be forced to find some obscure, overlooked translation or an error in his math and then move the apocalypse date to a new date.

To follow up on last week’s special election in Tredyffrin, by the time you read this, there may be further news.  It is my understanding that at 9 AM this morning (Monday), the two at-large supervisor candidates, Democrat Molly Duffy and Republican Mike Heaberg are meeting with Chester County voter service representatives. (The special election determined who would fill the vacated seat of Warren Kampf until January 2012).  Also in attendance for the voter services meeting will be a representative from the local Democratic and Republican parties.  Additionally, Duffy and Heaberg will each have an attorney present.  Voter services will be conducting a hand count of the votes from the special election with Duffy, Heaberg and others in attendance. 

I am not clear if voter services is hand counting the votes from all 17 precincts or only the precincts where is evidence of voting machine malfunctions.  As it now stands, the unofficial vote count from last week’s special election indicates 2,266 votes for Duffy and 2,226 votes for Heaberg, a difference of 40 votes.  The public needs to know that the total count in the special election is accurate and that all votes were counted, but . . . we as a community need to get to the other side of this issue and accept he voter services hand counting today.

Tonight is the Board of Supervisors meeting . . . will supervisor Heaberg remain on the dais as a member of the Board of Supervisors or, if the hand count with voter services supports the unofficial results that Duffy is the winner, will she take her seat as a supervisor?  Originally, all indications were that the official results from the special election would be official and certified in 4-6 weeks.  However, the special election hand counting is taking precedent over voter services handling of the primary election results; perhaps there will be an official vote count released today. Stay tuned.

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