County to change procedures after discovering uncounted ballots

By Lyndsie Kiebert
Reader Staff

The Bonner County Elections office is making some changes to the way they count and track ballots after discovering 396 uncounted absentee ballots in a drawer last week.

“I have no idea why that last drawer wasn’t opened,” said County Clerk Michael Rosedale.

The uncounted votes did not change the outcome of any races from the Nov. 6 election, Rosedale said, making the mishap a much smaller ordeal than it could have been.

“While it represented 2% of the vote and had no effect on outcomes, it still was something that never should have happened,” wrote Rosedale on the county’s website below the new election results. “I and my staff are very sorry, not to mention terribly embarrassed and have adopted measures already that will preclude this type of error from ever happening again.”

Elections Coordinator T.J. Eigler said the office is “doing something simple, straightforward and a little old fashioned” to help mitigate any future ballot misplacement.

Previously, the office would run a report each night compiling the names of everyone whose ballot they’d received that day, and then they’d compare the report to the physical ballots. Now, Eigler said they’ll add a log that tracks the number of ballots received each day, and they will then initial off that log on election night to make sure quantities match up.

“Now we’re making sure what goes in must come out,” Eigler said.

Additionally, Eigler said reports will be scanned and saved to the county’s network as backup.

Prior to the recount, Steve Bradshaw defeated Steve Johnson for the District 1 commissioner seat 11,363 to 6,825. The new total is Bradshaw 11,544, Johnson 7,029.

According to initial tallies, Dan McDonald defeated Steve Lockwood 10,810 to 7,442 for the District 3 commissioner spot. The new numbers are 10,990 to 7,651, McDonald still with the win.

Donna Gow beat out Wendel Bergman by a 13,171 to 3,711 tally at first to become county assessor, which has now been corrected to 13,418 to 3,805.

The results of the Bonner Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor Board race also remain true to original voting  results.

The outcomes of both ballot initiatives, as well as state and federal races, also remain the same after the lost votes were tallied. See all new results at

While we have you ...

... if you appreciate that access to the news, opinion, humor, entertainment and cultural reporting in the Sandpoint Reader is freely available in our print newspaper as well as here on our website, we have a favor to ask. The Reader is locally owned and free of the large corporate, big-money influence that affects so much of the media today. We're supported entirely by our valued advertisers and readers. We're committed to continued free access to our paper and our website here with NO PAYWALL - period. But of course, it does cost money to produce the Reader. If you're a reader who appreciates the value of an independent, local news source, we hope you'll consider a voluntary contribution. You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.

You can contribute at either Paypal or Patreon.

Contribute at Patreon Contribute at Paypal

You may also like...

Close [x]

Want to support independent local journalism?

The Sandpoint Reader is our town's local, independent weekly newspaper. "Independent" means that the Reader is locally owned, in a partnership between Publisher Ben Olson and Keokee Co. Publishing, the media company owned by Chris Bessler that also publishes Sandpoint Magazine and Sandpoint Online. Sandpoint Reader LLC is a completely independent business unit; no big newspaper group or corporate conglomerate or billionaire owner dictates our editorial policy. And we want the news, opinion and lifestyle stories we report to be freely available to all interested readers - so unlike many other newspapers and media websites, we have NO PAYWALL on our website. The Reader relies wholly on the support of our valued advertisers, as well as readers who voluntarily contribute. Want to ensure that local, independent journalism survives in our town? You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.