Recount declares Steve Kelley winner of sheriff’s race

Ponca City Now - July 6, 2016 9:54 pm

The Kay County Election Board completed its recount of the ballots cast in the June 28 sheriff's primary about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, and declared Steve Kelley the winner in a three-way Republican race.

The recount started at 9 a.m. with two teams working to individually inspect every Republican ballot cast in the election.

No Democrats filed for the sheriff's position and the primary ultimately determined Kelley the winner without a runoff election.

Going into the recount, Kelley lead with 50.20 percent of the ballots cast. He needed 50 percent and one vote to win the primary without a runoff — with a handful of votes more than that in his column.

Second-place candidate Tom Burg filed for a recount of the election numbers at 1:17 p.m. July 1 and paied $1,200 for a manual recount of the ballots. In his request he asked for a recount of all ballots, including absentee ballots and election day ballots in every precinct in Kay County.

The ballots, which were sealed after the election, were delivered to a courtroom at the Kay County Courthouse Wednesday morning, and filled nearly 50 boxes. The boxes were opened and the ballots tallied by hand in precinct order.

At the end of a lengthy day of counting, two errors were found in the ballot count from the original machine-counted totals. In Precinct 101, a ballot which the voting machine did not count was discovered to be lightly marked for Steve Kelley. That ballot previously had been counted as an under voted ballot, meaning the machine determined the voter did not vote for a sheriff's candidate. Inspection by the officials determined it was, indeed, marked for Kelley.

In Precinct 413, a blank ballot was discovered which was not found in the original machine count. It was added to the total as an under vote.

The three members of the Kay County Election Board certified Wednesday night that two corrections were made to the totals.

The final count in the recount showed Steve Kelley with 2,154 votes; Tom Burg with 1,499, and Brian Herbert with 638. A total of 4,291 ballots were cast, and Kelley's lead ultimately was 50.19. With the new total number of ballots, he needed 2,146 votes to win the election without a runoff.

Other than these two descrepancies, all of the results in the recount exactly matched the machine-counted results on Election Day.

The results were filed with the Oklahoma Election Board at 7 p.m. Wednesday and certified by the Kay County Election Board.


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