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Discrepancy Found in Unofficial Election Results by Pickaway County Board of Elections

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The Pickaway County Board of Elections, entrusted with the critical task of providing accurate vote counts, has encountered a discrepancy in the unofficial election results, casting a shadow over the integrity of the process and necessitating a thorough review.

In a statement issued by the Board, they expressed the gravity of the situation, highlighting their commitment to fostering trust within the community and its leaders. The discrepancy, identified in the unofficial results, involved an erroneous addition of more mail absentee vote totals than were actually cast for all candidates.

While assuring the public that the discrepancy does not alter the unofficial outcome of any contests, the Board underscored the importance of adhering to Ohio Secretary of State Directive 2024-03, which prohibits the disclosure of partial or final results between the completion of the Unofficial Canvass and the certification of official results.

This comes in the wake of several very close elections including the Sheriff election that Sheriff Hafey has unofficially won re-election over Dale Thomas but only by 136 votes. With 182 votes still out between 65 mail ballots and 117 are provisional.

As per the directive, the Board cannot disclose the test deck vote pattern or any adjusted totals or reports until the official certification of results, scheduled for Friday, March 29th, 2024, at 3 pm. During this period, the Board meticulously balances and reconciles election day votes, awaits valid absentee mail ballots, and reviews provisional ballots, aiming to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the electoral process.

Upon discovering the discrepancy, the Board initiated a comprehensive review of the data and processes to ascertain the root cause. It was determined that after the absentee results were generated, a USB drive containing ‘test data’ from the pre-election logic and accuracy testing process was inadvertently inserted into the tabulation computer, resulting in the erroneous importation of the test data before the drive was cleared. This unintended change was reflected in subsequent results generated by the system.

While urging the public to reach out with any questions or concerns, the Board emphasized their commitment to transparency and accountability. However, they clarified that certain details regarding the ongoing election day, absentee, and provisional audits and reviews cannot be provided until the official certification is complete.

Looking ahead, the Board assured the community that measures are being implemented to prevent similar incidents in the future, underscoring their dedication to upholding the integrity of the electoral process and restoring public trust