RENO, Nev. (KOLO) The race in Assembly District 31 was the closest in the state this election. Monday there was a recount. It wasn't expected to change the outcome and, in spite of an added issue, it didn't.
The race was a rematch between Republican Jill Dickman and Democrat Skip Daly. Two years ago, Dickman ousted Daly in the district which includes portions of Sparks and the north valleys. This time, election night ended in a 38 vote win for Daly.
At the urging of some of her supporters, Dickman requested a recount.
"The more I thought about it the more I realized we owed it--both of us, Mr. Daly and myself-- to the nearly 32,000 people who voted for us to ensure the integrity of the election process," Dickman said as the recount was getting underway.
"It's a perfectly natural thing," said Daly. "If the shoe was on the other foot, I'd probably be in the same position."
There's nothing new or unexpected about a recount in a close race, but this time around there's an added wrinkle.
During an audit prior to election day, it was learned one absentee ballot, among those already counted, had ended up in the wrong precinct. The absentee ballots from that precinct--all 75 of them were set aside and...it was thought--had been removed from the total.
As it turned out they were still lurking in the database and on election night were counted once again. Since those tallies would reflect the same preference as before, the recount was not expected to change the outcome and it didn't. Daly's winning margin dropped by two to 36.
The explanation: Not every one of those 75 voters cast a vote in the Assembly race.
Dickman had asked for a recount of just four precincts, but given the circumstances, Registrar of Voters Luann Cutler ordered all 31 thousand-plus ballots cast in that Assembly district to be recounted.
She says the added glitch holds some lessons for the election staff, but should leave the public reassured about the integrity of the process.
"One of our auditing processes is what brought this to light. So yes, you absolutely can be assured that every vote counts and it counts accurately."
The voter registrar's office was working with new software this election.
They'll be working to make sure this added issue doesn't happen again.
The outcome is no surprise. Recalls have rarely--if ever--changed the outcome of a race. Two years ago another Washoe County Assembly race ended with just an 11-vote margin. After a recount, that margin remained unchanged.