Volusia County has a lot to be proud of in the way our Elections Office has handled counting — and recounting — votes from the Nov. 6 election.
Only a few dozen people have witnessed the process firsthand, but what we have seen on the ground floor of the Volusia County Elections Office has been inspiring.
While partisan battles, name-calling and harsh accusations make headlines elsewhere, here in DeLand, representatives of both major political parties worked together peacefully to solve a New York Times crossword puzzle one late evening this week at the Elections Office, while vote-recounting proceeded in an orderly fashion in the background.
Largely without complaint, our Canvassing Board, elections supervisor and Elections Office employees have worked one 15-hour workday after another, determined to meet deadlines and to honor every voter’s right to have his or her ballot accurately counted.
When exhaustion met disappointment late Monday night, Nov. 12, after it was learned a 240-vote discrepancy would cause a big part of the recount to start over, just when it should have been finished, Elections Supervisor Lisa Lewis fought back tears.
She expressed concern that the discrepancy — caused by jamming in the high-speed vote-tabulators — would cause voters to mistrust the process.
Observers in the audience from both sides of the aisle were quick to reassure Lewis, and to express their appreciation for the diligence her Elections Office has shown.
While at least one other county planned to send its recount results to the state, discrepancies intact, Volusia County called in experts to address the jamming problem and started over, determined to get our recount right.
Through the long, tedious process, the Canvassing Board and Lewis have graciously welcomed public observation.
County Judge Christopher Kelly has regularly made time to give updates to the audience, explaining details of the recount and answering all questions. Lewis has gone out of her way to assure that the vote-tabulators are operating in full public view.
We’ve heard a lot of grumbling about the recount process, but making sure every single voter’s ballot is counted properly is not an annoyance. It’s essential to our democracy.
These recounts aren’t whimsical, or tactics being pushed by any political party. They are a safeguard mandated by election law.
Although many of us have been anxious for final election results, these recounts represent a needed second look at races that are very, very close. And, doing them right takes time.
We have a lot to be proud of in the way this important process has been handled at the Volusia County Elections Office.