Recount About To Begin - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Recount About To Begin

Montpelier, Vermont - November 29, 2006

Statewide recounts are not simple or common. The last time there was a statewide recount was 1980 when Sen. Patrick Leahy survived a challenge from Stewart Ledbetter. This time, Randy Brock hopes to sustain his narrow victory over Thomas Salmon. The latest tally shows the incumbent Republican winning the auditors race by just 137 votes over his Democratic Challenger.

"The recount law is very specific and it is designed to ensure extreme accuracy," said Vt. Secretary of State Deb Markowitz.

Because the race was so close, Salmon wants every ballot checked again. The detailed effort begins on Monday at court houses in each county. The process includes making stacks of 50 ballots with four people doing the counting.

"There is pair of counters and a pair observers. The counters are from opposite parties, the observers are from opposite parties and after that batch is counted and the results are written down, the observers sit down, counters stand up and the observers count the same pack," said Markowitz.

And everyone must agree on the outcome before moving on to the next pile of 50 ballots.

The biggest challenge is finding enough workers to do the counting. The political parties are charged with coming up with the counters. They must count all 250,000 ballots by hand, reaching a tally by a machine is not allowed under the law.

"The detail is incredible and it is really the county clerks who have this on their shoulder. It's asking a lot of our county clerks because they don't do it very often," said Markowitz.

The recount begins bright and early on Monday. Police will round up the ballots and bring them to superior court. But no-one knows how long it will take but do not expect any quick results, the counting could last days and the cost could run thousands of dollars.

Anson Tebbetts - Channel 3 News

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