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What's Going On In The Helms-Fogle Race For Missouri's 135th House Seat? A Recount Is Underway.

A team of bi-partisan election workers oversees the sorting of ballots before the manual counting begins.
Jennifer Moore
/
KSMU
A team of bi-partisan election workers oversees the sorting of ballots before the manual counting begins.
A team of bi-partisan election workers oversees the sorting of ballots before the manual counting begins.
Credit Jennifer Moore / KSMU
/
KSMU
A team of bi-partisan election workers oversees the sorting of ballots before the manual counting begins.

Listen to the audio report here.

 UPDATE on Friday, Nov. 13, 5:00 a.m.:   After Thursday's recount, Fogle won the election by 76 votes, flipping Missouri's 135th House District seat to blue.

Original story below:

The sound of ballots sifting through a machine Thursday morning filled the room at the Greene County Election Center in Springfield as part of a manual recount in a Missouri House race. 

The recount is for the Missouri House District 135 race between the top two candidates, Democrat Betsy Fogle and incumbent Republican Steve Helms. 

In the original count, Fogle led Helms by a mere 80 votes -- which was a thin enough margin to trigger an automatic recount.  

According to the Greene County Clerk's office, Fogle got 8,548 votes, which was  48.21 percent.  Helms got 8,468 votes, or  47.76 percent.  Green Party candidate Vicke Kepling got 694 votes, which was 3.91 percent.  And write-in candidates made up for the remaining 0.12 percent of the votes cast.

 

Early Thursday morning, bi-partisan teams were standing near the machine sorting ballots, observing the process.  Once sorted, the ballots are loaded into boxes then driven several blocks to the University Plaza Convention Center, where they are being counted manually throughout the day Thursday.

 

Greene County Clerk Shane Schoeller said the Code of State Regulations dictate that the entire process is open to the public for viewing.

“We want the public to know that we have bipartisan teams here. We want them to be able to see what is taking place.  Because that’s what brings faith and integrity in terms of once this outcome is certified, they’re going to know that they had bipartisan teams. They’re going to know the process was open,” Schoeller said.

The local recount comes at the same time President Donald Trump is criticizing the ballot-counting process in states where he lost or is trailing in the presidential election.  Missouri is not one of those states.

The 135th House District covers parts of central, east and northeast Springfield. Here’s a map.

Copyright 2021 KSMU. To see more, visit KSMU.

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As the Journalist-in-Residence at Missouri State University, Jennifer teaches undergraduate and graduate students, oversees a semester-long, team reporting project, and contributes weekly stories to KSMU Radio in the area of public affairs journalism.