The Osage Nation Election Board will conduct a recount of the 2016 Osage Congressional Election results Wednesday, at the request of candidate Myron Red Eagle.
Red Eagle finished 14th out of 15 candidates. He said he’s not requesting a recount on his behalf, it’s to settle questions he had on the results and for the benefit of the other candidates.
“This is a new system, it could have counted everybody twice, who knows. The results sheet ... it’s really baffling,” he said.
ON Election Board chairwoman Shannon Lockett said the results sheet can be a bit confusing at first glance, and if she had a chance to do it all over again she would have broken down the results in an easier format for the public to read.
“That was a mistake on our part to release that sheet, because it is very confusing,” Lockett said. “The big problem with it is when you get down to the totals of members of congress race, the undervotes and everything else above that is the actual count of votes, and not ballots. The overvotes are the actual number of ballots.”
Red Eagle said when he and others were reviewing the results, it appeared that 1,422 Osages undervoted, but Lockett said that is not the number of people that undervoted, it is the number of undervotes cast. For example, if someone only voted for two candidates, the four other possible choices they did not make, the number 4 went to the undervotes total.
Lockett said they do not know how many Osages undervoted because their software doesn’t detect that.
The results sheet shows the total number of overvoters as 10, but that is the total number of ballots cast, and not votes. Given that an individual is given six votes, when you multiply six with the number of overvote ballots (10), you get the number of overvotes possible, 60.
She said the total number of votes cast, 10,458, is derived by a simple math equation. When you times six by the total number of voters, 1,990, you come up with the number of total votes possible, which is 11,940. Then subtract the total number of overvotes (60) and then subtract the number of undervotes (1,422) and you will arrive at 10,458 votes cast.
ON Election Supervisor Alexis Rencountre said Red Eagle filed his petition and $500 money order for the recount on June 9. He can have up to two witnesses present at the recount. Red Eagle said he will not be at the recount but is still considering two individuals to be present.
Rencountre said the election board will officially convene in a meeting at 9 a.m. on June 15. The board will go into executive session and the election office will lock its doors and the Osage Nation Police Department will open the vault in their office where they keep the ballots. The election office board and staff do not have a key to the vault, she said, and there are security cameras in the building as well as in the vault room. Once the ballots are out they will conduct the counting over again with the witnesses present and record the entire process. “It will be like we’re conducting the election all over again,” she said.
The count will be done with the voter machines used in the election. The only instance in where a hand count would be conducted is if the results varied in such a way as to change the results.
After the recount is completed the board will reconvene, announce the results of the recount and then consider whether to certify the election results.
The Osage News will have an update on the recount on June 15.