District 3 cliffhanger hinges on 80 questioned ballots | TheUnion.com

District 3 cliffhanger hinges on 80 questioned ballots

County Elections Office staff continued Thursday verifying the 280-plus provisional ballots that stand in the way of deciding Nevada County’s tight District 3 supervisor’s race.

Incumbent Bruce Conklin trails challenger Drew Bedwell by a scant 16 votes.

Conklin managed to pick up eight votes following Wednesday’s tally of 1,700-plus absentee ballots, about 245 of which were cast in District 3.

But with only about 80 of the approximate 280 provisional ballots expected to come from District 3, it appears Conklin is running out of opportunities to make up the deficit.

Today, county Clerk-Recorder Lorraine Jewett-Burdick begins reviewing the provisional ballots cast in precincts 50 through 73, which comprise District 3.

“There are approximately 80 provisional ballots within those precincts,” Jewett-Burdick said Thursday.

The eligibility of voters who cast provisional ballots at polling places must be researched and verified by county staffers before the votes can be counted, Jewett-Burdick said.

Provisional ballots are researched by one staff member and double checked by another. Jewett-Burdick has the final say.

The clerk-recorder said representatives from the Bedwell and Conklin campaigns and anyone else interested in the process are invited to view her work and make challenges as allowed by election law.

Jewett-Burdick met with representatives from both camps Thursday to work out a procedure that will allow them to view the process while preserving the ballots’ secrecy.

“They agreed to my stipulation that they not be allowed to view any voters’ names, in exchange for unfettered access to the process as I review the voter information and signature on each provisional ballot envelope,” Jewett-Burdick said. “I believe the process should be open to observers, but the secrecy of the voters’ ballots is paramount.”

Jewett-Burdick will review all of the county’s remaining provisional ballots throughout today and into Monday.

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