According to the Casper Star-Tribune Democratic challenger Gary Trauner (pictured at right) has issued a statement explaining that because Wyoming law does not allow for hand counting of ballots, he didn't think there would be any change in the outcome by simply having a recount by machine.
He said he believes the state needs to look at changing its election laws to allow counting ballots by hand if necessary. "What is the purpose of having recounts in tight races and using machines that keep a paper ballot, if the law does not allow for manual checks and balances in counting those paper ballots?" he said.
In an Associated Press article Peggy Nighswonger, state elections director, confirmed there was no provision for hand counting ballots in Wyoming. The only instance she could think of where a recount by hand might occur is if all the tabulation machines in a county broke down, she said.
The election results have been certified in Wyoming, but Trauner, had earlier considered a recount. In a statement released yesterday Trauner stated:
We owe it to Wyoming’s citizens, both those that voted for me and those that voted for my opponent, to ensure that all their votes have been counted and that their final selection is accurate – we can stand for nothing less.
The Casper Star-Tribune reported:
Trauner noted that more than 2,700 people who cast ballots didn't vote in the congressional race. He noted that number of votes would be more than enough to affect the outcome of the election.
In results made official by the State Canvassing Board Wednesday, Republican Rep. Barbara Cubin won the election with 93,336 votes, or 48.3 percent, while Trauner got 92,324 votes, or 47.8 percent. Libertarian Thomas Rankin got 7,481, or 3.8 percent. The board rejected a request from Trauner to investigate issues he raised before certifying the results.
Trauner also questioned the voting results from Sheridan County, in which Cubin logged 5,883, compared to 5,255 for Trauner.
Wyoming Secretary of State Joe Meyer certified the election today, with an margin of victory for Cubin of 1,012 votes (official tally was Cubin 93,336, Trauner 92,324), a margin of approximately one half of one percent. Meyer reportedly certified the election results within minutes of receiving the final canvassing results from Wyoming counties, despite unresolved concerns about the reliability of the vote totals.
The press release issued by Trauner for Congress sites two apparent anomalies in Sheridan County, one involving undervotes and the other, "The difference between Sheridan County's votes against my opponent this time versus 2004 is lower than any other county - even counties that are far more conservative than Sheridan County."
While the race remained very close, it fell 79 votes short of triggering an automatic recount. Under state law, Trauner must ask for a recount no later than Friday. The recount would be conducted in all 23 counties, and Trauner would have to pay up to $500 per county for the cost of the recount. He would not be liable for the costs if the recount found "sufficient error to change the result of the election."
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