THURMAN - The surprise write-in win of only three votes for Stony Creek assessor wasn't the only election abnormality in rural northern Warren County.
In neighboring Thurman, a faulty election machine made results look dismal for a candidate, who a week after the election was awarded 41 times the votes she was credited with on Election Day in the unofficial tally.
Glenda Duell, a local citizen activist and real estate investor, was credited with only 2 votes for her bid to be on the town board.
Local residents had questioned the results, considering the sizeable number of relatives, friends and supporters she has in town.
A post-election machine inspection, however showed that the machine tally should have been 82 votes, rather than 2, and combined with her 8 absentee votes counted about a week after the Nov. 3 election, she received 90.
In that race, three candidates were on the ballot for two positions: incumbents Al Vasak, Charles Bills and challenger Glenda Duell.
The recent recount, however, didn't change the outcome, as Vasak and Bills still came out on top. The final vote count was Al Vasak: 289; Glenda Duell: 90; Charles Bills: 107 and Rebecca Desourdy: 1.
Republican Election Commissioner Mary Beth Casey said Friday that the incorrect election-day tally was caused by an aged roller in the back of the election machine, which didn't press heavy enough on the inked paper.
"The roller didn't press heavy enough for a proper impression," she said.
Casey said that a post-election inspection of the paper proof by personnel in the county Board of Elections prompted an investigation into the tally. The employees noted that if Duell's tally were truly 2 votes, it should have read "002" instead of just "2" on the paper proof.
Two days after the election, County Democratic Elections Commissioner William Montfort, Casey said, opened up the back of the Thurman machine and read a mechanical digital counter, which indicated the actual tally of 82 machine votes.
Glenda Duell, reached Monday on vacation in Texas, said she was frustrated that this same glitch had occurred two years ago when she ran for town board.
That year, on election night, it was unofficially declared that she received one vote although she received 90 or so.
This one-vote tally, published in newspapers and websites, was an embarrassment, she said, that wasn't corrected publicly.
"I'd like to know why this type of mechanical problem should be allowed to happen twice," Duell said, noting that the machine may have had other problems in 2007 as well, including not allowing people to vote for two board members in particular combinations of their choice. "This is a disservice to the people who voted for me."
Montfort said the election machine's roller assembly hadn't been fixed because parts for it were no longer available. The problem of the multiple votes in 2007, he added, was likely a matter in which several voters lifted a write-in window, then changed their minds, triggering lockout bars to engage - a design limitation of the machine, he said, rather than a malfunction.