11/06/08 — County has 600 more votes to count

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County has 600 more votes to count

By Staff Reports
Published in News on November 6, 2008 1:46 PM

Despite finding the county had more provisional votes cast Tuesday than expected, Wayne County elections director Vickie Reed said she is confident that the unofficial results will stand when canvass is held next week.

Originally estimating the number to be between 150 and 200, she said that when election officials began counting them on Wednesday morning, they discovered there were slightly more than 600 provisional ballots.

"I don't see where we're 600-and-some apart on any of the races," Ms. Reed said. "The only one would be if every one of them went for Willie Ray Starling, who was about 400 votes behind (Democrat incumbent Bud Gray in the Wayne County Commission District 5 race).

"And you've got close races with soil and water, which was close to begin with, but other than that, I don't see where it would affect any race."

The provisionals will be counted during canvass, which will be held at 11 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 13, at the Wayne County Board of Elections office, 209 S. William St.

She explained there are several reasons why the provisional vote count may have been high, attributing it to the large number of new voters casting ballots for the first time and the potentially large number of people participating who hadn't voted in recent elections.

"I think a lot of people, if they had changed their address, didn't want to go to another location, or there was a problem getting their registration from the (Department of Motor Vehicles)," she said.

It also, she continued, could have been because of "jurisdictional issues" -- people saying they belong in one district when their information says otherwise.

At canvass the county Board of Elections will determine which of those ballots are eligible to be counted.

"We're giving them as much leeway as we can legally," Ms. Reed said. "Everyone wants their vote to count, and we try to help with that. If their vote isn't counted, it's probably because they weren't legally registered."

Other winners from Tuesday's election included:

Lois Mooring, who was running unopposed for re-election as Register of Deeds. She recieved 33,983 votes countywide.

Thomas P. Uzzell also won a seat as one of the county's Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisors -- though this was the only race Ms. Reed said could be affected by the provisional votes.

Uzzell won 36.11 percent of the vote (11,026 votes), Wayne Westbrooke won 32.61 percent (9,957), Jesse Jernigan won 30.71 percent (9,376) and write-ins won 0.57 percent (175).