Friday, Jan. 29, 2021
Contact: Kristen Schulze Muszynski

Hudson to see amended election results after discovering absentee ballots omission

AUGUSTA — A discrepancy in the election results reporting for the Town of Hudson will be corrected Monday under authorization from Secretary of State Shenna Bellows.

While completing post-election work, the municipal clerk discovered a discrepancy of approximately 240 between the ballots cast and the number of voters who participated in the Nov. 3, 2020 General Election. Hudson Town Clerk Laurie Saunders, working with the State Elections Division staff, determined that the town had omitted the tally of absentee ballots that were processed before Election Day. These votes would not be enough to alter the outcome of any races on the town’s ballots.

The Department of the Secretary of State Elections Division has notified representatives from Maine’s political parties that they can observe the process of reopening the election materials and running the tabulation report from these ballots. This will take place in a public proceeding on Monday, February 1, at 10 a.m., at the Hudson Town Office, located at 2150 Hudson Road.

Catching these types of errors and omissions is a perfect example of why we work so closely with the municipalities to review the election data and make sure all the numbers make sense,” said Secretary Bellows. “For anyone wondering if your vote counts, this is reassurance that it most certainly does. There is a lot of data-gathering that happens after each election, and when we notice a discrepancy, we make sure it is addressed.” 

The November 3, 2020 General Election was the first time that Town Clerk Laurie Saunders conducted early processing of absentee ballots, as the pandemic caused a record number of voters to submit their ballots before Election Day. Saunders said she did not realize that those ballots would not automatically be included with the totals printed from the tabulator after the polls closed on election night. 

State election law, Title 21-A section 722(2) provides that the Secretary of State shall correct the tabulation by obtaining a certified copy of the results from the clerk if it appears there is a discrepancy in the record. 

The town’s absentee ballot early processing memory device, which has been secured by the Clerk in the Clerk’s Office since early processing was completed, will now be processed by the Warden and two election clerks (one from each of the major parties). These ballots will then be combined with the election night tally to report a new corrected return. The Elections Division will then prepare an amended tabulation and submit it to the Governor.