The mystery surrounding the votes of the 2014 Mineral County General Election votes was finally made public on Thursday, Dec. 15 when Mineral County Clerk Chris Nepper made the numbers available to those in attendance.
The results of the race could have affected the outcome of three races: that of the clerk race, assessor race and the much publicized sheriff’s race.
In documents presented to the three people in attendance that showed up on Dec. 15, it was found that only one race could have been flagged for a recount and that is between incumbent Mineral County Assessor Dorothy Fowler and Kevin Chisum. The final tally would have Fowler winning by only one vote.
Nepper, who would be appointed to fill the position of clerk-treasurer after the resignation of Lorraine Haight, laughed at the results stating, “Well, I still lost!” Nepper would lose by 106 final votes.
The much publicized race between then Sheriff Stewart Handte and Randy Adams showed that with all votes counted, Adams still won the race with 810 of Mineral County votes. Handte collected 741. A different of 69 votes.
The official count missed the 178 votes, which were cast on one voting machine during early voting. The public was made aware of the vote’s months after casting their votes when newly elected Clerk Haight found the paper ballot roll in a desk which had been vacated by outgoing clerk Cherrie George.
In a statement to the Independent-News, George explained that she first thought the error was on a machine used on voting day. She later traced the error to a machine that was used for early voting. By that time, the votes had been canvassed by the Mineral County Board of Commissioners. George had been in contact with the Nevada Secretary of State’s office. She had been awaiting their answer on how to fix the missing vote’s problem when she left office.
Due to the missing votes, Nepper would be the only candidate out of the three that would file a lawsuit against Mineral County in order to get a clear answer. After the resignation of Haight and his appointment, earlier this year, Nepper chose to drop the lawsuit. He would be elected clerk-treasurer in the 2016 voting period, running unopposed.
After hearing of the votes, Handte said outloud in the commissioner chambers, “It is what it is.”
Clerk Nepper told the Independent-News, “We are happy we finally got the complete tally and now residents know the exact count.”
Dominion, vendor of the voting machine, has yet to give an explanation of how or why the machine malfunctioned. They have been contacted several times by the Independent-News with no call back.