Ballots recounted, runoff voting begins
BERRYVILLE -- Certification of election results from the May 18 Preferential Primary are set to take place today.
Also scheduled is early voting in the primary run-off race that begins Tuesday.
It's a short turn-around time that has election workers staying busy.
Thrown into the mix at the last minute was a re-run of election day paper ballots. That process was ordered for yesterday evening because of a discrepancy discovered during the vote count reconciliation process.
According to Election Coordinator Bethe Henley, paper tapes taken off the 650 paper ballot vote-counting machine showed there was a possible power surge during the ballot count on election eve, May 18.
She said the power surge might have affected the count.
The only local race with a narrow margin separating candidates was the Beaver Township Constable race between Republican candidates Robert Tollett and David Henderson, with Tollett winning by 26 votes.
The re-count was scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday night. The results from that re-count will be reported in next week's paper.
At an election commission meeting Tuesday, commissioners discussed the quick turn-around time between the May 18 primary and the run-off election set for June 8.
"We're in a pickle," said Henley. "Early voting starts Tuesday and we don't have ballots.
"We haven't received official notification from the state regarding candidates," she said, "but we have a deadline to meet with the programmers."
"We run with what we've got," replied Commission Chairman Levi Phillips. "We run with it and order ballots."
According to state election law, certification of results takes place 10 days after an election so absentee and overseas ballots that arrive by mail can be counted.
Locally, there aren't enough outstanding ballots to make a difference in Carroll County races.
However, according to Election Commissioner Dave Hoover, Republican Congressional hopeful Gunner Delay, who came in third in his bid, could tie with Cecile Bledsoe and go up against Steve Womack if overseas and absentee ballots arrive in his favor.
Other reports show Delay supporting Bledsoe, not challenging her.
Whatever the case, local election officials are proceeding according to information available.
That includes the following candidates on the Democratic Primary Run-Off Election ballot:
* U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln and Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter for U.S. Senate;
* Mark Wilcox and County Clerk Pat O'Brien for Secretary of State; and
* Rep. Monty Davenport and L.J. Bryant for Commissioner of State Lands.
On the Republican ballot, there is only one race to be decided -- between Senator Cecile Bledsoe and Mayor Steve Womack for the U.S. Congress District 3 seat.
Early voting begins Tuesday and will continue through Monday, June 7 at both county courthouses during regular business hours.
Polls will be open election day, Tuesday, June 8, from 7:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. at the county's 15 polling sites.
In other business during the election commission's meeting Tuesday, it was decided that only lead pencils should be used for paper ballot marking.
A previous plan to purchase laser printers to speed up the count process was set aside after it was discovered the lasers won't work with the counting machine. Instead the existing dot-matrix printers will be sent out for maintenance.
Also, commissioners closed out the electronic voting machines used in the Primary Election by securing all flashcards, Personal Electronic Ballots (PEBs) and paper rolls associated with each machine in individual plastic bags that were labeled, signed and sealed.