Ballot count draws scrutiny
Tally takes place amid reports of vote mishandling; mayoral win likely to stand, Detroit officials say.
Top-level representatives of Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and challenger Freman Hendrix stood watch Saturday as the official canvass of more than 220,000 votes cast in last week's mayoral election began amid new reports of mishandling of ballots by city poll workers.
On Friday, city officials found that one election worker had taken home two electronic devices that store vote tallies and those votes weren't tallied on election night. In addition, some results weren't tabulated correctly because of a computer programming error.
Some city workers also failed to subtract dummy votes that are cast -- 20 in each precinct -- to ensure voting equipment works properly.
Less than 3,000 votes were affected by the errors, Chesney said. She said election workers have many ways, including an examination of the original ballots, to check the final tallies.
No irregularities had been discovered with absentee ballots, Chesney said.
On Election Day, the FBI obtained a court order to preserve absentee ballots and other records for investigation. Earlier, a Wayne County circuit judge handed supervision of the election to state Bureau of Elections director Chris Thomas and Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett. The court also appointed two prominent Detroiters, Charlie Williams and Elliott Hall, as monitors. The orders came in a lawsuit challenging City Clerk Jackie Currie's handling of Detroit's August primary. Currie was cited for contempt of court after she disobeyed a court order not to distribute absentee ballot applications.
On Oct. 30, a Detroit News report outlined how legally incapacitated people were voting, that people had voted who listed addresses at vacant lots and in abandoned buildings and that a significant percentage of Detroit's voter rolls were inaccurate. The story raised questions about how Currie manages absentee voter ballots.
Just another day in Detroit elections. The Free Press also had a story on this.