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Conklin’s chances shrinking

The Union StaffNevada County Clerk-Recorder Lorraine Jewett-Burdick reaches for some provisional ballots.
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Nevada County Supervisor Bruce Conklin’s re-election hopes now hinge on just 65 ballots.

Unfortunately for him, opponent Drew Bedwell appears to only need 25 of them to win by at least one vote and close out the much-talked-about contest.

Bedwell leads by just 16 votes, and 25 more would give him 41 of the remaining 81 votes. That scenario is pending the tally of the 63 provisional ballots approved for counting by county Clerk-Recorder Lorraine Jewett Burdick Friday and the two additional damaged ballots cast in District 3.



Barring any difficulties, Jewett-Burdick said the Elections Office hopes to count the remaining 65 ballots by the end of the day Monday.

All eyes were on the clerk-recorder Friday morning as she made the final call on whether the 81 provisional ballots cast in District 3 would be counted or thrown out.




All that could be heard while she contemplated each vote was the hum of printers and computers at the Elections Office and the shuffle of ballot pages.

On one ballot in question, Jewett-Burdick said, the voter used the correct ballot type, showed proof of where he or she lived, along with a pre-printed check or bank deposit slip and a sworn statement from another voter in the precinct saying the person in question lives in that precinct.

“So they met the two fail-safe requirements and they voted the correct ballot type,” Jewett-Burdick said.

Silence….

“So that’s a count.”

One voter, the clerk-recorder said, moved from one precinct to the other, but insisted on voting in the old precinct.

“So that’s a ‘do not count,’ ” she said. “Some of the voters get very upset when you tell them they have to go to somewhere new.”

When it was all said and done Friday, Jewett-Burdick determined that 63 of the 81 ballots met the legal requirements to be counted and 18 did not. Reasons for rejection included voters never registering in Nevada County, failing to show proof of ID or residency, or voting for more races than they were entitled to.

“This isn’t based on some anecdotal evidence,” Jewett-Burdick said. “It’s not me making subjective decisions. It’s based on the law, nothing but the law.”

On Thursday, Jewett-Burdick met with backers from both the Bedwell and Conklin camps and worked out a procedure to allow them to view the process, and make challenges allowed by law, while preserving the ballots’ secrecy and the names of voters.

“The process was excellent,” said Donna Kingwell, a consultant for Supervisor-elect Robin Sutherland, who was watching for Bedwell. “Everything was very objective. . . . and there were no challenges.”

Conklin campaign manager Paul Matson also gave the process a thumb’s up.

“I like the (clerk-recorder’s) definition of the analysis of each ballot,” he said. “There was no question from either side as to what had occurred. Everybody who met the criteria has been able to exercise their right to vote, and I think that’s great.”

Despite the numbers, Matson said he was still hopeful about the race’s outcome.

“We can’t wait until Monday to see how these provisional ballots” turn out, he said.

Neither Conklin nor Bedwell attended Friday’s ballot review.


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