Auditor race hinges on Chittenden County recount

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(Host) The outcome of the state Auditor’s race now hinges on the recount of votes in Chittenden County.

Based on the tabulation of votes in Vermont’s other 13 counties, Democratic challenger Tom Salmon has taken the lead.

So far, Salmon has a net gain of roughly 200 votes in his race against incumbent Republican Randy Brock.

But Secretary of State Deb Markowitz says the contest is still too close to call.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports:

(Kinzel) The recount in Chittenden County is taking the longest because more than 65,000 ballots are being recounted 50 at a time.

Based on the results from the state’s other 13 counties, Secretary of State Deb Markowitz says Democrat Tom Salmon has gone from a 137 vote deficit to being ahead by roughly 200 votes.

Salmon now has an overall lead of about 2400 votes going into Chittenden County. It’s likely he’ll need those votes because Brock carried the county on Election Day by just over 2200 votes.

Markowitz says it’s impossible to predict the outcome of this race:

(Markowitz) “A lot of the counting isn’t completed yet and Chittenden County has a significant number of votes in it and we just have to wait to see it is truly too early to call the race.”

(Kinzel) Markowitz says most of the towns that experienced errors during the recount are larger communities that still hand count paper ballots. The mistakes were made when town officials in their final tally confused Salmon’s vote total with those of Liberty Union candidate Jerry Levy:

(Markowitz) “At the end of the day we’re going to do a real analysis we’re just getting a sense right now but we’ll do a real analysis to see whether or not there are things that we can do to the paperwork to minimize the likelihood that this kind of clerical error can happen in the future.”

(Kinzel) Markowitz says the recount shows that optical scan machines are very accurate and she’s hoping to convince some of the towns that experienced problems to adopt this technology:

(Markowitz) “We’re already having conversations about that with those towns particularly the towns where we saw the errors seeing if they might not bring it back for another vote another conversation in their towns to see whether or not it made sense in that community to go to an optical scan machines.”

(Kinzel) Markowitz is hoping that the recount in Chittenden County will be completed by the middle of next week.

For Vermont Public Radio I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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