Following the release of new figures Monday that show state Sen. Douglas Henry with an unofficial 13-vote advantage over challenger Jeff Yarbro, a recount appears to be the likely next turn in the dramatic conclusion to the Democratic primary for state senate District 21.
A statement released by the Yarbro campaign Monday afternoon said, “A recount appears to be in order,” stopping short of definitively saying whether a recount would be requested.
Earlier in the day, Kathryn Sasser, legal counsel for Yarbro, had said it was too premature to know whether the Yarbro campaign would ask for a recount but called the sudden change in voting figures “concerning.”
“It’s concerning any time there are varying tallies,” Sasser said. “So we want to make sure whatever number ends up, is the right and correct number.”
If the Yarbro camp does request a recount, it appears the Henry side wouldn’t object.
“We would not be opposed to a recount,” said Bob Thomas, Henry’s campaign finance chairman. “We want accuracy. We feel we have won, but if there’s any question about it, we certainly want to know that the final numbers are correct.
“We are confident in victory, but 13 votes is not a landslide,” Thomas added.
The dynamics of the razor-thin contest changed after the Davidson County Election Commission acknowledged Monday morning that it made an error by releasing absentee voting figures collected from a malfunctioning voting scanner. The problem was compounded when they re-released numbers that were tallied incorrectly and were still inaccurate.
The initial count on election night showed Yarbro with an 18-vote advantage. Those numbers were released even though the absentee voting figures were the product of a malfunctioning voting scanner, according to Davidson County Elections Administrator Ray Barrett.
Heading into the weekend, the count was revised following a hand count of the absentee ballots. New numbers showed Henry with a two-vote lead, with two outstanding provisional ballots still to be counted. Apparently, those figures were still wrong.
“It was just an honest error on some math on some people’s part,” Barrett said.
On Monday morning, Barrett unveiled recalculated numbers that showed Henry with a 15-vote lead. When factoring in two provisional ballots that were both awarded to Yarbro, the Henry lead unofficially stands at 13 votes.
No matter what actions the respective campaigns take, the election results will undergo an audit in the coming days, a normal procedure for all elections. Actual results won’t be certified until Aug. 23.