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Runoff recount is likely
Elections board certifies results in District 5 race
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Forsyth County News
The District 5 county commission runoff appears to be headed for a recount.

The Forsyth County Board of Elections certified the results of Tuesdays runoff election Friday afternoon, declaring District 5 commission winner Jim Boff ahead of opponent Julie Tressler by 30 votes.

Tressler then announced she would be seeking a recount.

“It’s not out of the ordinary because of the small margin,” she said. “I just think we owe it to ourselves to verify.”
During the certification meeting one of four overseas and provisional ballots was counted, increasing Boff’s 29-vote lead to 30 votes.

Both Boff and Tressler attended the board of elections meeting Friday to witness the certification.

“It appears like I picked up one additional vote there,” said Boff. “I’m the winner and I’m very happy about that.”
“I’m definitely looking forward to [taking over in January] and I’m already doing everything I can toward being as up to speed as I can be.”

Boff said he thought a recount “would be a waste of everybody’s time.”

As it stands after certification, Boff has 50.24 percent of the votes and Tressler has 49.76.

Because the vote was decided by less than 1 percent, Tressler has the option to ask for a recount under state law.
She must do so, in writing, before close of business Tuesday. Though it was too late Friday, she said she will meet her deadline and will request the recount.

During the meeting, Tressler made a request to the board to postpone certifying the election, citing several ballots cast with no actual vote.

She presented the board with a letter asking for the postponement, allowing for more time to look at the issue.
“Because it was so close and there were still unanswered questions, I asked them to postpone it to day seven instead of day three,” she said, following the certification.

The official results showed 33 blank ballots were cast for the District 5 race. In the clerk of superior court run-off election 607 ballots were left blank.

Gary J. Smith, chief voter registrar and elections board chairman, said there is no way to prove intent on a blank ballot and often, people choose to vote for one race, but not another.

The three-member elections board unanimously voted to certify the election Friday despite Tressler’s plea, said Smith.

“We felt at the time, there was no reason to hold up certification,” he said.

“In every election we’ve ever had since I was in office, we’ve had people who decided not to vote. There was no reason to wait another two days.”

Election board member Janis Thomas said she wished she received a copy of Tressler’s letter “earlier to make a decision on,” but would not comment as to why she voted against postponing the certification.

Brant Meadows, the third election board member said the certification was the same as all past certifications.

“If there had been something that could have been exercised, or identifiable, some irregularity or inconsistency with something that happened in the past ... we might have done things differently,” he said.

“But I didn’t see anything. For me, it is the consistent way we’ve done it each and every time here.”

In the event of a recount, all absentee ballots would be run through an optical scan reader, said Smith.

The reader would then release votes to a memory card, which would be combined with memory cards from all other machines used in Tuesday’s run-off.

“Then what we do is re-run all of the memory cards from the machines, summarize the data and print the report again,” said Smith.

Apart from the potential District 5 recount, Smith characterized the rest of the runoff election as “flawless.”

During the July 15 primary election, five voting machines were closed due to technical difficulties.

Two of those machines were closed after voter complaints. Both machines passed all tests needed, and while they were approved for use, none were used during the runoff.

Machines that were used “ran well,” said Smith.

“There were no problems at all this time. None,’ he said. “This election ran technically as well as it could. As far as I’m concerned, it was flawless.”