Monday, November 9, 2015

Rockville City Council candidate challenges election results

Rockville City Council candidate Richard Gottfried has contacted acting City Clerk Sara Taylor-Ferrell, and has challenged the results of last Tuesday's election. Gottfried is asking for a manual recount of all paper ballots, under Section 8-41 of the Rockville City Code.

Gottfried finished 282 votes behind incumbent Councilmember Virginia Onley, according to the City's posted election results. In his letter to Taylor-Ferrell, he cites an "excessively high number of under-votes, 1762 to be exact, which constitutes 28% of total ballots casted." He also notes that the new voting machines did not allow voters to compare their paper ballot with the scanned ballot for accuracy.

One other Election Day issue I've heard about from a source was that each polling place did not have a Chief Election Judge on-site at all times. I cannot personally verify this, as I was not at every polling place at every hour of the day. Reportedly, several judges were floating from site to site as needed. Article 10-203-B of Maryland election law states:

  1. One or two election judges in each precinct shall:
    1. (1)  be designated chief judge; and
    2. (2)  supervise the staff at the polling place. 
 Photo via Vote Richard Gottfried website


  1. I would like to have more information about this. I don't understand the challenge.

  2. I didn't vote for Rich, but I support his right to challenge the results. Even though his total votes (2,416 / 10.25%) was 282 votes behind Ms. Olney (2,698 / 11.44%)or more than twice what is outlined in Section 8-41 of the Rockville Code which states (in my words) that if a candidate for Councilmember loses by one-half (1/2) percent or less and that person requests a recount, a manual recount of two election districts MUST be conducted. So as I see it, in this case, since Mr. Gottfried lost by more than one-half percent -- 1.19% to be exact -- he is NOT entitled to a recount under the code. Unless, of course, he can provide some evidence of faulty or erroneous vote tabulation or some other kind of vote manipulation or fraud, the election is over and the results stand.

    1. The apha test the County performed during the 2015 Rockville election with the experimental optical scan voting system is designed NOT to “provide some evidence of faulty or erroneous vote tabulation.” Voters could not even confirm how the scanner would read their ballots. It was like dropping one’s ballot into a shredder. I would think that both the County and the City of Rockville would welcome a manual count of ballots in order to rule out any real or perceived impropriety. After all, we’re not talking about 100,000 votes, just 6,343. To not do a recount on the first use of a previously untested optical voting system, would show that Rockville has something to hide.