Over 5,000 undervotes discovered in Lawrence County election recount

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The Lawrence County Board of Elections have officially certified the results of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court recount in the county.
The Lawrence County Board of Elections have officially certified the results of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court recount in the county.

NEW CASTLE — The Lawrence County Board of Elections on Wednesday officially certified the county’s results for Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court based on the mandatory statewide recount.

Commissioner Morgan Boyd noted that the recount took place over two days, Nov. 17-18.

During that process, all three commissioners, the Lawrence County Voter Services department, and watchers from both county parties reviewed every under and over vote that was detected.

An under vote is when a voter votes for under or none of the number of the max candidates on a ballot, with an over vote being a voter voting for more than is required.

For example, for the commonwealth court race, voters were asked to vote for two out of four candidates. An under vote would be if a voter voted for one or none, with an over vote being they voted for three or four.

Over votes are not counted, while under votes are.

County Election Technology Manager Tim Germani said there were over 5,000 under votes that were counted during the recount.

Boyd said while the recount added votes to all four candidates, the results of the winners from the county didn’t change.

Republican Stacy Marie Wallace had 9,838 votes, Republican Drew Crompton had 8,948 votes, Democrat Lori Dumas had 6,195 votes, and Democrat David Lee Spurgeon had 5,567 votes.

Boyd also noted that one singular new ballot was added during the recount, as the first time, the ballot was shaded too lightly.

He said often times in elections, especially during recounts, the election board and election department have to determine the voter’s intent for ballots that are damaged, mismarked, or not appropriately filled, in order to make sure their vote is counted.

As a result of the overall state recount, Wallace and Dumas won with 1,355,445 and 1,297,253 votes respectively, with Crompton receiving 1,274,899 votes and Spurgeon receiving 1,175,974 votes.

Under state law, a mandatory recount is triggered when vote totals are within the one-half of one percent margin.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of State, the Commonwealth Court is an intermediate appellate court that primarily handles matters involving state and local governments. It also acts as a trial court when lawsuits are filed against the Commonwealth.

Nicholas Vercilla is a staff reporter for the Beaver County Times and Ellwood City Ledger. He can be reached at nvercilla@gannett.com.

This article originally appeared on Ellwood City Ledger: Commonwealth Court recount results certified

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