Judge issues no decision in House District 71 race
BY WAYNE GREENE World Senior Writer
Thursday, April 12, 2012
4/12/12 at 10:58 AM
Super Tuesday national map: Follow Tulsa World Senior Writer Wayne Greene’s updates on the situation today on Twitter.
The House District 71 race will continue.
Tulsa County District Judge Daman Cantrell took no action this morning after a meeting regarding the April 3 election that has produced two winners, a recount and missing ballots.
Cantrell told attorneys representing both candidates in the election that he has to rule based on law and not personal preference and might hear the case Monday.
At the heart of the issue before Cantrell is missing ballots. Democrat Dan Arthrell had a three-vote lead entering Wednesday's hand recount. By the end of that recount, he had lost four votes, and Republican Katie Henke was on top by one -- 1,415 to 1,414.
Cantrell is considering a hearing Monday afternoon. However, the state election board is meeting Monday morning and could declare Henke the winner if a court does not intervene prior to that.
Arthrell's attorneys were concerned that Henke could be sworn in before Cantrell, or another court, hears the case.
Shortly after Henke was certified the winner Wednesday, the election board discovered two missing ballots, both votes for Arthrell. Two ballots remain missing, according to both voter registration records and the machine count totals.
Based on election machine tallies, 2,833 people voted in the election, but when sealed boxes of ballots were broken open Wednesday afternoon and counted, only 2,829 were there. The 2,833 ballots recorded by election machines correspond to the number of people who signed registers to vote.
Tulsa County Election Board Secretary Patty Bryant said this morning said that the machines in the election were operating correctly.
On Wednesday, Bryant said she was horrified when two ballots were discovered after the recount.
The ballots were in a black box that sits underneath vote-tallying machines to collect ballots.
At the end of the day, the ballots were supposed to have been taken from the box, put in a transfer box and taken to the Election Board for securing, but it appears that the two ballots were never collected by precinct workers, Bryant said.
Arthrell's attorneys protested that something had gone afoul because four votes were missing. Henke's representatives said the recount rules required the board to count and certify the ballots that they had.
More to come on this story
Democrat Dan Arthrell and Republican Katie Henke