UPDATE: Board of Canvassers wraps up manual vote recount in Kanawha County

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KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- UPDATE 11/14/18
A hand count to tally more than 1,700 uncounted votes in Kanawha County is complete, but the results will not be certified until Thursday, the Kanawha Commission said.

The Board of Canvassers worked throughout the day Tuesday, beginning at 7 a.m., to count the missing votes. The process didn't wrap up until just after 9 p.m. that night.

Commissioners say Election Day votes for precinct 165 were not counted Election Day due to an election official's error. Also, nearly 20 additional precincts with incomplete tallies had come from the voting location at the Elkview Sheriff's Detachment. Those votes had not been included in the cumulative results for Election Night.

The Board of Canvassers also reviewed provisional or challenged ballots, as well as absentee ballots. They also oversaw the required manual count of 3 percent of the precincts, which were randomly selected. There are 174 precincts total in Kanawha County.

Commission President Kent Carper said in a news release, "To ensure the integrity of the Election all matters were reviewed and discussed in the public meeting of the Board of Canvassers. Votes which could be counted pursuant to WV Code were counted."

Despite the recount, it appears no race results have changed.

The commission is set to meet just after 9 p.m. Thursday in the Commission Courtroom of the Kanawha County Courthouse to certify local races in Kanawha County, including city of Charleston races.

UPDATE 11/13/18
Officials are no longer calling the hundreds of ballots that fell through the cracks in Kanawha County a machine error, but a human error.

More than 1,700 votes in Kanawha went uncounted on Election Day, leading to questions in some tight races. The affected precincts were in the Elkview, Clendenin, and Pinch areas as well as Kanawha City.

Originally, the clerk's office said it was due to machine error -- an error they discovered when the machines and hand-written number of voters did not match up.

A canvass is underway Tuesday. Officials are sorting through paperwork and making sure all votes are correctly tabulated.

During that process, officials discovered at least two USB flash drives that contained the ballots for multiple precincts, but were never plugged into a computer for tabulation. That would have been a duty at the clerk's office.

Officials chose random precincts to canvass. There could be more, but they started with Holz Elementary, Piedmont Elementary, Rock Lake Presbyterian Church, Point Harmony Elementary, Sissonville's Loftis Fire Station, and Shoals Elementary.

This system of checks and balances is crucial for several races that were won by narrow margins.

Richard Lindsay ran against incumbent Sen. Ed Gaunch for the 8th Senatorial District seat. Lindsay won by 288 votes. However, 763 of the votes in question could impact their race and change the outcome.

In the race for West Virginia House of Delegates, the top three candidates are chosen for the 36th Delegate District. Amanda Estep-Burton secured the third spot for that district in the House, but there were only 27 votes separating her and Chris Pritt.

The County Commission also serves as the Board of Canvassers in a situation like this. Members will examine the problem and determine what the law says they should do to make it right and get an accurate count. Commission members and candidates agree that making sure the voters' voices are heard is the most important issue after the error.

ORIGINAL STORY 11/9/18
More than 1,700 votes in Kanawha County went uncounted on Election Day. The clerk's office says it's due to machine error.

According to our sister station, WSAZ, The Kanawha County Commission had a press conference at 2:00 p.m. Friday at the Voter’s Registration Office. It was about issues with the counting of votes for the General Election.

Kanawha County Clerk Vera McCormick says the poll workers take tallies on paper of the number of people casting ballots on Election Day. That allows them to catch discrepancies and possible issues if the numbers don't match what the machines say. That's how that caught this error.

WSAZ reports, in total, 1,739 votes fell through the cracks.

The following precincts are in the Elkview, Clendenin, and Pinch areas and were off by the following number of votes:

418: off by 21 votes
419: off by 113 votes
420: off by 47 votes
421: off by 165 votes
423: off by 175 votes
424: off by 112 votes
425: off by 65 votes
426: off by 21 votes
427: off by 13 votes
428: off by 13 votes
429: off by 15 votes
434: off by 8 votes
435: off by 16 votes
436/436A: off by 92 votes
437: off by 109 votes
438: off by 158 votes
439: off by 158 votes
440: off by 54 votes
441: off by 45 votes

Also, precinct 165 in Kanawha City was off by 339 votes.

The commission also serves as the Board of Canvassers in a situation like this. Members will examine the problem and determine what the law says they should do to make it right and get an accurate count.

A canvass will begin Saturday morning. Officials will sort through paperwork and make sure all votes are correctly tabulated.

"The canvas will be conducted in a civil, quiet manner," said Carper. "I don't care if it takes a week -- we will count every vote, period."

At the press conference, officials said they were confident they combed through the votes in each precincts and they have found all of the polling locations with errors, according to WSAZ.

"I'm surprised by this due to the size of it," Carper said."I don't know exactly how this could happen. We don't know."

A reporter asked what percentage of the total vote was made up by these uncounted ballots. Carper assured the room that even in one vote went uncounted, they would go through this correction process.

"There are good people that work in this office. Very good, honest people."