Razor-thin margin, failed tabulators, untallied ballots, terrible 'recount' provisions leave Barber-McSally contest unsettled...
Yes, we're still working on Election 2014 around here. As we've told you many times, problems in elections often take days, weeks or even months or years to reveal themselves, even after the mainstream media has long since moved on.
Last week we told you about the "recount" that awaits the GMO labeling ballot initiative in the state of Oregon and the amazing appearance of 21 "new" mystery ballots that flipped the results of a state Senate recount in Maine. And now, a "recount" lies ahead for the one remaining "too close to call" U.S. Congressional election in Arizona's 2nd Congressional District.
The state's first-ever "recount" of a Congressional race will be very different from the one that will be carried out for Oregon's Measure 92 and --- as demonstrated via a federal court ruling issued on Thanksgiving Day that disallowed the tally of some 133 provisional and early ballots before today's state certification of the race --- much more controversial. We can only hope no mystery ballots appear, as occurred in the still-unexplained contest in Maine.
The razor-thin contest in AZ-2 is between incumbent Rep. Ron Barber (D) and his challenger Martha McSally (R). Out of some 220,000 votes cast in the AZ-2 race --- in Pima and Cochise Counties --- the paper ballot computer tabulators report a margin of "victory" for McSally over Barber of just 161 votes, according to results posted by the Sec. of State.
The U.S. House seat in Arizona's 2nd District was formerly occupied by Rep. Gabby Giffords (D) until she was critically injured in a 2011 mass shooting that killed six and wounded 13 during a public event in Tucson. After Giffords' resignation following the shooting, she was replaced in a special election by Barber, one of her top staffers who was also shot twice himself during the massacre. Barber then went on to defeat McSally in the 2012 general election by less than one percent.
Prior to today's certification of this year's rematch, there were a number of oddities and controversies during the tabulation period. Among the problems, the reported Election Night failure of the paper ballot optical-scan computer tabulators in Cochise County to read a number of memory cards from the Early Voting period. Those sensitive cards store results of precinct-scanned paper ballots. They had to be flown by helicopter to another county before their contents could be discerned (even though paper ballots existed that could have simply been counted by human beings, rather than relying on electronic tallying systems.)
In addition to the troubling ruling last week by the U.S. District Court and the flawed electronic tabulation of some early ballots, local election integrity experts are also concerned about the state mandated process for "recounting" the ballots, a process which includes using the same flawed electronic scanners once again to determine if the initial scan was carried out accurately...
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