Machines Declare Democrat Winner in House Race, But Then the Hand Recount Overturns It for Republican


The latest example of a vote hand-count showing the machine count was wrong occurred in Iowa and resulted in Republican candidate Luana Stoltenberg toppling Democrat Craig Cooper in a state House race.

WQDA-TV reported on election night that Stoltenberg had won her race by 29 votes.

Given the razor-tight result, officials sought to conduct a machine recount on Nov. 15, but that effort was stopped after the tabulator machine repeatedly jammed.

A hand recount followed on Nov. 17 and then another machine recount on Nov. 18, which put Cooper in the lead by six votes.

Finally, one more hand-count this week put Stoltenberg back in front by 11 votes.

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There have been other close races around the country in which initial tabulating errors resulted in the wrong candidate being named the winner.

In Idaho, Democrat Karma Metzler Fitzgerald thought she had defeated GOP candidate Jack Nelsen for a state House seat by 383 votes. However, once a tabulating glitch was corrected, it turned out that Nelsen had actually triumphed by 84 votes.

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A recount in New Hampshire last month ended up giving Democrat Maxine Mosley a one-vote win over Republican Larry Gagne in a state House race, instead of a loss by 23 votes.

One of the more dramatic results of the 2022 midterm cycle came during the Georgia primaries last spring.

Based on the initial machine-tabulated results posted on May 24, Democratic Dekalb County Commission candidate Michelle Long Spears came in third place, and therefore did not qualify for a runoff.

“Spears and her team, though, noticed that initial results showed her receiving zero election votes at most precincts in the district,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

After a hand-count was conducted over Memorial Day weekend, Spears picked up over 3,600 votes and went from being in third place to first. She won her runoff in June and ran unopposed in the general election.

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The Georgia secretary of state’s office admitted to making several programming mistakes in its Dominion Voting Systems machines.

In 2020, a hand-count conducted in the entire state of Georgia following the general election also revealed that thousands of ballots had not been counted. Those discrepancies were also attributed to human error in the uploading of ballots to the machines.

Then-President Donald Trump ended up netting more than 1,200 votes, but it was not enough to change the overall result.

Concerns about the accuracy of tabulating machines prompted the Cochise County, Arizona, Board of Supervisors to preemptively vote in October to conduct a full hand-count audit of the 2022 midterms.

But a group represented by Democrat Marc Elias’ law firm sued, and Democratic Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs’ office filed a brief in the case arguing a full hand-count audit was not permitted under Arizona law, the Arizona Mirror reported.

A judge ruled in the Democrats’ favor the day before last month’s general election.

Hobbs won the Arizona governor’s race over Republican Kari Lake, who is expected to file a legal challenge on Monday based on ballot tabulators and printers in about one-third of Maricopa County (Phoenix metro area) polling places malfunctioning on Election Day.

The Arizona attorney general’s office wrote a letter to Maricopa County officials seeking information about the Election Day chaos and indicating that state election laws may have been violated.

Among the most troubling issues raised in the letter were reports of the perhaps accidental co-mingling of ballots that were successfully run through ballot tabulator machines at polling places with those that were not.

A machine recount is slated in the Grand Canyon State in the attorney general’s race later this month, which should reveal if all the ballots were ultimately tabulated.

Democratic candidate Kris Mayes holds a 511-vote lead over Republican Abe Hamadeh, with more than 2.5 million votes cast.

Republicans out-voted Democrats about 3 to 1 on Election Day, so Hamadeh would seemingly have the most to gain if the count was off.

It will be interesting to see how the machine recount numbers compare to the official election tallies, especially in Maricopa County.

And would a hand-count show something significantly different?

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 3,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Graduated dean's list from West Point
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith