Administrative recount to address two ballots from Tuesday’s Cerro Gordo election, provisional ballots also to be looked at Monday

MASON CITY — The Cerro Gordo County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday afternoon approved an administrative recount to address two ballots that were not originally counted due to ballot machines having paper jams during Tuesday’s election.

A special election board will be meeting on Monday at the courthouse to address those two ballots as well as to examine a number of provisional ballots that could factor into the final results of two County Board of Supervisor races of the general election.

County Auditor Adam Wedmore says single ballots jammed on Tuesday morning at the Mason City Ward 3 Precinct 1 location at the Masonic Temple and the Ward 3 Precinct 2 location at the School Administration Building. He says it’s a very straightforward process with this administrative recount of two ballots. “It will only be those two precincts, and we will recount all races on the ballots in those two precincts, and that recount will be done by our absentee and special voters precinct, which is a bipartisan team that’s coming back next Monday to review write-in ballots, provisional ballots and late-arriving absentee ballots.”

Wedmore says the administrative recount will allow the county to assure the voters that every valid ballot that was cast on election day did count.   “The numbers that we are talking — we had 514 declarations of eligibility at the Mason City Ward 3 Precinct 1, that’s a voter who has checked in and verified they are registered and able to cast a ballot and received their ballot. The ballot scanner read that it counted 513 ballots, so a discrepancy of one. The other precinct, Ward 3 Precinct 2, we had 412 declarations of eligibility, and the ballot scanner read 411 ballots cast, again a discrepancy of one.”

While the two ballots as part of Monday’s administrative recount won’t change the unofficial winners of the election, the special board during that same meeting will examine up to 14 other ballots that were held out of the unofficial totals.  “Any ballot that has been late-arriving that qualifies to get counted, which is a small subsection. Any provisional ballot that is eligible to be counted will be counted on Tuesday. That’s why the election results are always unofficial because there’s provisional ballots, there’s late-arriving absentee ballots. There’s several reasons why ballots could come in after election night and be valid and be eligible for counting.”

Wedmore says there are possibly five provisional ballots not counted that were cast in the precincts that are part of the Supervisors District 3 race, which was unofficially won by Lori Meacham Ginapp by five votes. He says there are six potential provisional ballots not counted that were cast in precincts that are part of the Supervisors District 1 race, which was won by Chris Watts by 11 votes.

Once again, that special board will deal with those ballots during a meeting on Monday afternoon in the boardroom of the courthouse. The vote will be officially canvassed then on Tuesday afternoon during a special meeting of the Board of Supervisors. Any candidate wishing to request a recount after Tuesday’s canvass would have three days to make that request.