Due to a technical error, the Democrat candidate for Jerome’s House seat in Idaho was initially thought to have won. After it was corrected, the seat in the House was declared for a Republican candidate.
Enough votes to change the projected Idaho election results were missed in a glitch.
After more nearly 700 votes were added to the tally on the state website late Thursday morning, Chief Deputy Secretary of State Chad Houck announced that Republican Jack Nelsen, not Democrat Karma Metzler Fitzgerald, had won the House seat representing Jerome, Blaine, and Lincoln counties.
Idaho News reported.
Houck said Jerome County officials noticed vote totals on the secretary of state’s website didn’t match their count for the district — District 26. Houck said his office worked with county officials starting Wednesday and discovered a glitch that prevented early votes in the county from being tallied on the state’s website.
The change gave the win to Nelsen by 83 votes — 7,916 to 7,833. Initial results had him losing by several hundred.
The change also narrowed the margin of victory in the other two legislative races in the district, but didn’t change those outcomes, Houck said.
In those races, Democratic Rep. Ned Burns’ margin of victory over Republican Mike Pohanka narrowed to fewer than 40 votes out of nearly 16,000 votes cast.
In the Senate race, Democratic Ron Taylor retained a margin of more than 500 votes out of about 16,000 cast over Republican Rep. Laurie Lickley, who was trying to make the jump to the Senate.
“None of those three counties has made their results final,” Houck said. “I’m not saying it’s going to change, but it’s still an unofficial result.”
“This isn’t a surprise to me,” he said. “This is an intense data process. It is a very intense human process. It’s not uncommon to see adjustments made. This is a much more visible one.”
If the statewide results remain unchanged, Republicans will enhance their supermajority in the House by going from 58 to 59 seats, dropping Democrats from 12 to 11 seats. The Senate, based on current vote totals as reported by the state, will remain at 28 Republicans and seven Democrats.
Houck noted a problem also occurred with Teton County vote totals involving several hundred votes. He said workers knew there was a problem when vote totals were short of what they expected. He said workers found a box of sealed, secured early votes that hadn’t been counted. Houck said the additional votes didn’t change the outcomes of any races.