Idaho’s partial vote recount validates 2020 election tallies

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A partial recount of ballots cast during the last presidential election has validated the accuracy of the results, Idaho officials say, despite manipulation claims by Trump ally and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.

The Idaho secretary of state’s office said Wednesday that a hand inspection of ballots in Camas and Butte counties found margins of error of less than 1%. That’s far below what Lindell had claimed in saying votes for former President Donald Trump went to President Joe Biden.

Lindell has made unsubstantiated claims and floated conspiracy theories about last year’s election in multiple states in an attempt to undermine voter confidence in the outcome. That has extended even to Idaho, where Trump easily won the deep-red state with nearly 64% of the vote.

“The office of the Idaho Secretary of State takes free, fair, and accurate elections seriously,” said Republican Secretary of State Lawerence Denney in a statement. “So when we are presented with allegations that come with specific details which we can examine, we want to do so.”

The secretary of state’s office said a document questioning Idaho’s vote count appeared on a website with a copyright belonging to Lindell. It claimed votes cast for Trump were electronically switched to Biden.

“This document alleged electronic manipulation in all 44 counties,” said Chief Deputy Secretary Chad Houck, but noted that “at least seven Idaho counties have no electronic steps in their vote counting processes.”

Officials said they didn’t suspect any problems with the election tallies around the state, and chose Butte and Camas counties due to their small size, making a recount easier.

Butte County after the election reported a tally of 1,193 votes for Trump and 188 for Biden. Lindell contended Biden only received 130. But the hand count of ballots found 188 to be accurate. However, the secretary of state’s office said it found another nine votes for Trump, upping his total to 1,202. Officials attributed the ballots not getting counted to ballot sorting and storage policies that should be adjusted.

In Camas County, secretary of state officials said the hand count found 149 votes for Biden, as the county had reported. Officials also found an additional vote for Trump bringing his total to 508. Lindell had said 54 votes had been taken from Trump’s total.

The secretary of state’s office recorded video the recount process for both counties. It can be viewed on the secretary of state’s YouTube channel.

The office said that it will also do a partial recount on Saturday of ballots in Bonner County. Officials said the video feed for that recount will be available starting Saturday morning.

“Regardless of how a county counts their ballots, Idaho’s processes, checks and balances produce free, fair, and accurate elections that Idahoans can trust, and that if you provide our office with specific data or information to the contrary, we will look into those concerns,” said Houck, who will be overseeing the counting in Bonner County.