Wayne County election vote tabulation error discovery leads to tied race

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An Election Night error in tabulating the actual votes cast during this month’s local election has been discovered, and one Western Wayne community’s final election results were impacted.

Wayne County Clerk Debra Berry issued a statement Friday afternoon to advise the public that ballots cast during early voting were not included in the final vote results announced on the evening of Nov. 5.

Once the two groups of votes were combined, officials determined Dublin’s town council contest was the only race with a different final outcome.

Voters in the Dublin election were to elect five members to the town council. The finally certified vote totals show that there was a tie vote for the fifth member of the town council. Republican candidates Pamela Chaney and Leonard Glen Payne Sr. each received 45 votes.

Berry’s office has notified the Dublin town clerk and advised her of the final tie vote for that race. Western Wayne News is currently seeking more information as to how that issue will be resolved.

All votes that were cast in each of the municipal elections were ultimately counted and are accurately reflected in the revised final and certified election results, Berry said.

While no other races were affected enough to change the outcome, vote margins for the originally announced successful candidates were impacted.

The currently posted election results that now appear on the Wayne County Clerk’s website are now certified, accurate and include both early voting totals and Election Day vote totals, Berry said.

A closer look at what happened
Berry said entries were made on Election Night of early voting results and of Election Day voting results.
Those entries went into two separate databases of the county’s vote tabulation software.

When it came time that evening to tabulate and announce the unofficial final vote results, there was an error in computer data input that resulted in only those votes cast on Election Day being tabulated.

When the clerk’s staff later attempted to reconcile the number of tallied votes with the number of voters who had checked in at the polls, the discrepancy was discovered.

The election software vendor (whose staff had been on site to oversee proceedings on the evening of the election) was contacted.

The error was discovered, and newly calculated vote tallies were counted that include both the early voting results and the Election Day votes.

“Finally, let me assure everyone that this problem was only due to human error in the manner in which the early and election day votes were input into the computer program intended to tabulate both separate databases,” Berry said. “This problem was in no way caused by any breach of the county’s voting system security by any entity or third party. I regret that this problem occurred, but wish to thank my staff, and our vendor, Harp Enterprises, Inc., for their prompt assistance in identifying and correcting the problem.”

By Millicent Martin Emery