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Recounts ordered for two counties

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Associated Press BUTTE - Officials ordered vote recounts in Cascade and Butte-Silver Bow counties, after finding discrepancies in the number of ballots counted and the number distributed.

Cascade County commissioners ordered that ballots in the race for House District 41, a close one, be counted by hand after a discrepancy appeared during Thursday's official vote canvass.

County election supervisor Jean Harris said there was a difference between the number of ballots counted by machine and the number of ballots distributed. The recount by hand is scheduled for Monday morning.

Unofficial totals for the House race found Republican James Whitaker defeating Democratic incumbent Brennan Ryan by just two votes.

Also on Thursday, the canvass board for Butte-Silver Bow County found a discrepancy. In nearly every precinct, more votes are recorded than there are signatures voters provided when obtaining ballots.

"We went through each precinct and counted the signatures and have yet to reconcile that with what the computer is telling us," said Lori Maloney, court clerk and a member of the canvass board.

Ballots bearing write-in votes may have been counted twice, Maloney said. To test that suspicion, the board planned to recount votes in two precincts.

Officials expected to have election numbers ready for action by the Council of Commissioners on Monday.

Neither Maloney nor Bill Driscoll, interim clerk and recorder, could say how many more votes than signatures were counted. Both said they doubt the recount will change election results.

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