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November 9, 2012

Election Board begins opening found ballots, counting 110 provisionals

NORMAN — The 60 uncounted absentee ballots that were found by Cleveland County Election Board workers Thursday were in a locked room overnight and had inadvertently been mixed in with a box of envelopes, election board officials said today.

Election Board secretary Jim Williams and members Hal Spake and Lisa Shrieves began the process of opening each envelope and checking the votes. The only local race with a close enough margin to be affected by the ballots is the House District 45 seat won by incumbent state Rep. Aaron Stiles, a Republican.

Of the found absentees, only three were deemed to be in District 45. Roberts gained 1 vote and Stiles gained 2.

Officials said there were 527 provisional ballots cast on Tuesday and 110 were deemed eligible.

Stiles’ challenger, Democrat Paula Roberts, lost by 18 votes in Tuesday’s election. Roberts, a teacher in Norman, served as election board secretary before being succeeded by Williams.

Provisional ballots are cast by voters who lack the required identification at the polls. Officials said 24 of the provisional ballots were in District 45.

Workers allow provisional voters to sign a sworn affidavit and allowed to vote. Those votes are included in the final count if research shows they are legally registered in the precinct.

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