The Jerome County Elections Office issued a press release Thursday stating the number of votes counted in Jerome County were incorrectly reported on the Idaho Secretary of State’s office website, resulting in one Democratic candidate’s loss and a Republican candidate’s victory for a seat in the Idaho Legislature.
While the Jerome County release did not specify which candidates were affected, Idaho Democratic Party spokesperson Avery Roberts said the miscount affected Legislative District 26, Seat B, which initially showed Democrat Karma Metzler Fitzgerald as the winner by 383 votes. Roberts said after the corrections, Metzler Fitzgerald lost to Republican Jack Nelsen by a small margin.
The release said Jerome County consulted with the Idaho Secretary of State’s office to determine the cause of the discrepancies, and found there was a missing “vote type” configuration between the tabulated results and the way the results were published on the secretary of state’s website on election night.
“The absence of the vote type in this internal process resulted in a portion of the cast ballots not being attributed to the published online totals,” the release said. “It is important to understand that the original totals printed by the tabulation equipment were accurate, remain unchanged, and allowed for the correct reconciliation with poll book records and voter counts as calculated on the evening of Nov. 8.”
The office and the Idaho Secretary of State’s office emphasized all results as published on election nights are unofficial until the canvassing process is complete and certified.The deadline for the Idaho State Board of Canvassers to meet and certify election results is Nov. 23.
Metzler Fitzgerald posted on Facebook on Wednesday that she had already applied for keys to the Idaho Capitol, a parking permit and committee requests, and had planned on attending legislative meetings in Lewiston on Monday.
Prior to the reversal, the balance of power in the Idaho Legislature remained unchanged from the prior year. Now Republicans have gained one seat, with 59 Republicans in the Legislature and 28 in the Senate.
This story will be updated.