Close votes verified in Cameron Parish - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Close votes verified in Cameron Parish

Results from two extremely close races are now verified-- and there will be an election in December to decide who will be police juror in Cameron Parish District 1, where they had a tie.

Election officials and two candidates gathered at the Cameron voting machine warehouse, where they first verified how many voters cast ballots on each machine.

From here it was to the basement of the parish courthouse to verify the results from the mail in ballots.  At one point, it looked like the tie in District 1 might be broken-- but then they realized a ballot that had to be hand counted was added in twice.

Clerk of Court Carl Broussard explains,  if a voter doesn't completely color in the circle, the computer won't read it. "Yes, we were counting it twice and the number came out correct."

 They had one ballot they couldn't count because the voter didn't have the necessary witness signature on it. Says Broussard, "There's no way of saying for sure it would have broken the tie, because the voter might have only voted for sheriff, but there's a strong chance it would have eliminated the need for another election."

Broussard says in such cases, they do not open the ballot. So, there's no way of knowing for sure whether it would have broken the tie, because the voter may not have voted in that race, but it's possible the vote would have broken the tie.

Incumbent juror Sonny McGee wasn't here but challenger Curtis Fountain is satisfied the results reported are accurate. "The count came out correct, so it's a tie."

They also verified the results of the District 5 race where Kirk Burleigh won by just two votes. Burleigh says he was there to watch the vote verification because he was, "Just curious and (wanted) the peace of mind of knowing the results and now you can move forward."

So, the outcome of Saturday's election shows one should never think your vote doesn't count. Two votes or even one vote can decide a race. Says Broussard, "You know, sometimes we're lax in our voting but it is a good lesson for us. Get out and vote."

The election results won't be official until 10 a.m. tomorrow when they are transmitted to the Louisiana Secretary of State.

That runoff election is on December 17th.

Copyright 2011 KPLC.  All rights reserved.

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