It's a waiting game that turned into an afternoon full of frustration. The state mandated machine recount between Incumbent Pam Cates and her opponent Milton brown had a surprising outcome.
"My votes went down and his votes went up," said Cates after she learned of the machine recount results. The machine recount revealed Cates who was originally leading by 7 votes after election night, was now 8 votes behind Brown. But because those results were yet again close, election officials then began a manual recount.
"11, 12, 13, 14," counted Washington County Judge Colby Peel, who is also the Chairman of the Canvassing Board. There was nothing but silence in the room as he and Supervisor of Elections Carol Griffin counted the under votes one by one. Questions remained after this recount as well.
"We've physically counted here today either by machine or by us, that number is the same, explained Judge Peel. "The difference in the vote totals the machine kicked out, I can not answer the question. I mean the machines are set up, they do have a margin of error."
According to Judge Peel and Griffin, they may have discovered an error Thursday in one of their machines. They noticed it after checking each machine and comparing results from Election day to Thursday.
"Sometimes a machine doesn't pick up a vote and it goes in as an under vote and so we had that machine that reported quite a few under votes on Tuesday night that actually counted votes today," explained Judge Peel. "Ironically, it counted 15 additional votes for one candidate."
That discovery was reported to the Division of Elections office along with the results from Thursday's recount. And while questions remain revolving these votes, the issue resolves in the hands of the State elections office.
Thursday's recount results which reveal Brown to be the winner are unofficial until the Division of Elections in Tallahassee confirms the numbers. The Washington Supervisor of Elections office will re-test their voting machines Friday morning.