Uncounted Bernalillo County absentee ballots found

Posted at: 11/30/2012 10:28 PM
By: Jill Galus, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Nearly a month after the last ballot was cast and counted in Bernalillo County, the deputy clerk discovered Friday evening, the process was never completed back on Nov. 6.

Inside the election warehouse, mixed-in a tub of envelopes from ballots that had been counted, were 125 unopened absentee ballots.

"We were very surprised to hear that this happened, we find it alarming, our primary concern is the integrity of the election," Bobbi Shearer, director of the Bureau of Elections, said in a phone interview Friday.

Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse-Oliver was not available for comment Friday.

At this time, it is not believed any of the uncounted ballots will impact any of the close races, Shearer said, but the mistake is not going unnoticed.

"When you're finding uncounted ballots this late after the election that is something that causes Secretary [Diana] Duran great concern," Shearer said. "There are procedures in place in the election code to prevent this kind of thing. We're going to be working with Bernalillo County to determine where those procedures broke down."

Each unopened ballot will be counted Saturday morning, and numbers are expected to be released by mid-day.