Irregularities in posted election results can’t be ignored

Based on precinct results posted on the official elections website for Island County, the wrong person won in at least five races and the tallies didn’t add up in eight or more contests.

Precinct numbers should add up to the total vote count for each candidate, but they didn’t.

While county and state election officials contend that total vote counts posted on the website were accurate, they need to take these discrepancies seriously.

Officials need to explain exactly what happened, how precinct counts could be so different than the final vote counts and how the problem can be prevented in the future.

A recount may not be required, but it should be part of the discussion.

Island County elections officials blamed the state secretary of state’s office and new software for the discrepancy between the final count and precinct results.

The secretary of state’s office blamed the county, saying the precinct information was out of order.

The questions are many.

If it was a software error, why would only some of the results in some of the races be inaccurate?

If it was out-of-order precinct information, how could the numbers be wrong for the Langley City Council race, where there’s only one precinct?

Why didn’t anyone in the Island County elections office notice the issue right away? Why didn’t the secretary of state know about all the problems, even after it was pointed out to them?

Craig Cyr, who won a position on Langley City Council, first noticed the issue because he was curious about the wide vote margin between two candidates for a South Whidbey School Board contest.

His reaction, which included words best not repeated in a community newspaper, were apt.

Last week, county officials blamed the secretary of state for a delay of more than two hours in posting results on election day.

The state, however, claimed the county neglected to take a step prior to uploading the results, resulting in the long wait.

What is going on?

It’s vital to a democracy that citizens believe elections are fair and the counts are accurate. There is no “close enough.”

The canvassing board needs to get to work. A full and complete explanation is vital to election integrity.

When it comes to elections, there are no “harmless errors.”

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