Officials confident in Curry County primary results

By Marlena Hartz: Freedom Newspapers

The results of Tuesday’s Curry County primary were not certified in a special meeting of the county commission Friday, yet county officials remain confident in the election results, according to officials.

Deputy County Clerk Coni Jo Lyman recommended the county commission not certify the results.

“I don’t think any races will change,” she said in a telephone interview with the Clovis News Journal.

“I just don’t feel confident. I want to make sure I am 100-percent right.”

According to Lyman, several state mandates caused hiccups in election tabulation.
The county had not used the state-mandated Internet-based software prior to this election. In addition, procedures for the tabulation of absentee votes and provisional ballots are more rigorous, Lyman said.

Also, Lyman said she discovered a data entry mistake in the tabulation of votes for probate candidate Kevin Duncan. An incorrect number, off by 10 votes, was entered into the tabulation system, Lyman said.

Some of the Tuesday races were close. Just 40 votes separate winner Duncan from his opponent Michael Wells, according to unofficial results posted on the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Web site, www.sos.state.nm.us.

Lyman said she will double-check all the results within the next week. That will be done by entering numbers into the old system and comparing that with results shown in the new software.

The number of Democrats and Republicans previously recorded to have participated in the election could waver slightly after the recount, Lyman said in an e-mail she sent to candidates.

“Total accuracy is the only thing that matters in every respect,” the e-mail reads.
The Curry County Commission is required by state law to convene within three days of the election date and must certify the election results within 10 days of the election date, according to Lyman. Once the results are certified, they are sent to the office of the secretary of state. That office also verifies the results of the election.

To Lyman’s knowledge, this is the first time the Curry County Commission has not certified election results within three days of the election. But hiccups at this stage in election tabulation “happen,” New Mexico Director of Election Ernie Marquez told the Clovis News Journal Thursday.

“Election night can be pretty hectic,” he said.

Marquez also verified there were “unexpected glitches” with the new Internet-based software.

“I am not surprised this happened,” Curry County Commission Chairman Tim Ashley said. “There has been a lot of difficulty with this election as a result of changes in state legislation.”

The commission is slated to convene again, probably Tuesday or Wednesday, to review the election results, according to Ashley.

“I think this shows what good employees we have. They are so thorough, they are hunting for everything and they found a couple of discrepancies,” said Democratic probate judge candidate Gloria Wicker.

The leader in the race for the sheriff, Matt Murray, also told the Clovis News Journal he was not fazed by delay.

“I think it a good process and a fair process,” he said over the phone.