Neal gets hearing over voting machine seals

Mark Payne
Mark Payne
Mark Payne is the government and politics reporter for LINK nky. Email him at [email protected]

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Jessica Neal, the losing candidate in May’s Republican primary for the 24th Senate District, will get another hearing after a recount didn’t change the election’s outcome.

In a motion filed last Thursday, Neal said there were issues with how the voting machines were sealed. Campbell County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Zalla presided over the recount case and set a hearing at 11 a.m. for Friday, Aug. 19.

“It is important to note that the machine’s seals will not be broken before the team is ready for counting that particular machine,” the motion reads. “Machines that arrived to the court with seals already broken cannot be verified as to whether their contents reflect the same contents exactly as appeared on election night at 6:00 p.m. May 17.”

Campbell County Clerk Jim Luersen said everything was done by the book.

“The seals she’s talking about are on a part of the machine that has no access to the ballots and is not required,” Luersen said.

The recount started on Aug. 10 and concluded on Aug. 11. Luersen said the machines behaved as they were supposed to, and in all four counties, there was only an issue with one vote due to an “overvote.”

An overvote is when a voter marks a ballot in such a way that the machine has trouble reading the ballot. The machine spits the ballot back out, and the voter has a chance to redo their vote. However, in the case of Campbell County, the voter chose not to recast their vote for the senate race. However, when hand-counting the ballots, they were able to take that vote into consideration.

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Republican Wil Schroder, who is not running for reelection, currently represents the 24th Senate District, which is composed of Campbell, Pendleton, Bracken, and a small part of Kenton counties.

Neal finished second in a three-way race which Shelley Funke Frommeyer narrowly won. She will face Democrat and Highland Heights city council member Rene Heinrich in November.

Neal, a member of the Campbell County Republican Party’s election integrity committee, has pushed conspiracy theories about elections in Kentucky and their potential for fraud.

She took to the courts to seek a recount following her narrow loss, where she was asked to pay more than $57,000 for the full recount.

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