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Election recount continues

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A recount in the Grant County judge-executive’s race has done little to change election night results.
With all but two of the 23 precincts counted, incumbent Democrat Darrell Link has seen a net gain of one vote against Republican challenger Steve Wood.
The recount, which took place during 11 hours between Nov. 29 and Nov. 30, will be completed Dec. 1 at the county clerk’s office.
It is only the fifth recount in Kentucky history, according to the Secretary of State’s office.
“While this election continues to wind its way through recounts and the court, I have continued to work for the people of Grant County,” Link said. “... I look forward to extending my arduous work effort an additional four years.”
During day one of the recount, the tally for precinct 21, located in Dry Ridge, had Wood with one less vote than previously registered by the machine. The count, which was double checked, also had Link with one additional vote than the original total.
During the second day of the recount, Wood gained an additional vote in precinct 20, which is located in Williamstown.
Vote totals from all other counted precincts, along with the absentee ballots, matched the original count.
The two remaining precincts are 10 and 14, both which vote at Crittenden-Mt. Zion Elementary.
Three independent commissioners selected by Circuit Court Judge Stephen Bates — former county clerk John McCoy, former Grant County Schools Superintendent Don Martin and Jack Eckler — have hand counted paper ballots from the E-Scan machines. They will be paid $20 per hour for their services by Wood.
Wood decided to petition for a recount after he trailed by 45 votes at the end of election night and after a recanvass of votes Nov. 12.
County Clerk Leatha Conrad previously said that there were multiple complaints during the election about voters being directed to mark a straight party ticket before proceeding to vote on individual races.
The issue brought up concerns that voters who marked a vote for a particular party, but then voted for an individual candidate of a different party would not have their vote counted.
However, Stephen Culbertson, a representative for Harp Enterprises, the company that makes the voting machines, said the votes would be valid.
“The way that the machines are designed to work, if you make a mark inside an office that is outside of your straight ticket vote, that mark inside that office will override the straight ticket vote,” he said at the recount. “So, if I mark a Republican straight ticket, but I don’t want to vote for the Republican candidate and I mark the Democratic candidate for the office, my mark inside the office (box) overrides the straight ticket vote (for that race).”
The rest of the ballot, however, would remain a straight party ticket vote.
During the recount, there were at least 124 ballots that came from voters who marked their ballot as a straight ticket for one political party, but then voted for a judge-executive candidate from the opposite political party.
There also were also at least 38 ballots that did not have any vote marked for either candidate or a straight party ticket.