11/16/08 — No changes in final Wayne vote tally

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No changes in final Wayne vote tally

By Steve Herring
Published in News on November 16, 2008 2:00 AM

Wayne County's 658 provisional ballots included one from a South Carolina truck driver who apparently was so concerned he wouldn't make it home in time to vote that he stopped here to cast his ballot.

The unusual ballot was found this week as the Wayne County Board of Elections canvassed the Nov. 4 vote. A brief, five-minute board meeting Friday morning by conference call was all it took for the board to certify the elections results -- results that did not change any of the outcomes.

The trucker's ballot was among the 364 provisional ballots that were disallowed, mostly because the voters were not registered or were registered in a different county, Elections Director Vickie Reed said.

The number of provisional ballots, which tend to reflect Election Day voting patterns, were so widely spread as to have no impact on any races, she said.

Along with the provisional ballots, the county had 1,737 absentee by mail ballots.

Bob Jackson was the only board member present for Friday's meeting. Chairman Gene Riddle and Joseph Lofton were out of town and participated via conference call.

Commissioner Efton Sager, who was elected to the District 11 seat in the state House of Representatives, was the only candidate to attend. No one from the public was in attendance.

The final voter turnout was 50,284 ballots cast, of which 34,073 were cast at one-stop voting sites. Overall the turnout was 73.32 percent of the total of 69,529 eligible voters.

"One of the reasons we have one stop is to help on Election Day and also for voters who cannot be there on one specific day to help them have a time that they can go," Ms. Reed said. "That is why we staggered our hours and had 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. this year, besides Saturdays and Sundays."

Ms. Reed said the election went "very smoothly" and that the county had not experienced any problems.

"As far as our poll workers and equipment, it ran very smoothly," she said.

Some voters had problems getting in to vote at the one-stop site at the library on East Street because of long lines. However, they had four other locations they could have gone to, she said.

The library site was popular because of its central location, she said.

Looking back on the election, Ms. Reed said she could not think of anything different her office would have done.

"I think we worked so hard to get this election prepped before it even got started," she said. "I mean a lot of time and a lot of effort went into this.

"I think that it was the first time we have had five one-stop sites. That is a lot of traveling between locations to make sure they have everything they need. To help shut down at night. To set up a routine for having Sheriff's Office to pick up ballots and ensure they are secured. It was well-organized."

Next up for Ms. Reed and her staff is putting the election to bed and starting on next year's municipal elections.