Local election officials make final preparations

October 30, 2004|by CANDICE BOSELY

Berkeley County Clerk John Small crossed the fingers on both of his hands Friday when asked whether he anticipates any problems during Tuesday's election.

"I hope not," Small said.

Berkeley County has been known to have problems with ballot-counting equipment in the past, so this year the regular counting machine is ready to be used and a backup also is in the courthouse, Small said.

Four years ago, dawn had come and gone by the time the final ballot was counted.

Absentee ballots and ballots cast during West Virginia's early voting period, which ends today, will be counted at the same time as regular ballots cast on Tuesday, officials said.


In Jefferson County between 600 and 650 absentee ballots were mailed out, County Clerk John Ott said.

Morgan County sent out 232 absentee ballots, County Clerk Debra Kesecker said.

In Berkeley County, 1,064 absentee ballots were mailed out, with 919 of those returned as of Friday night, Circuit Clerk Virginia Sine said.

Of Washington County's 77,309 registered voters, 3,700 asked for an absentee ballot, Washington County Election Supervisor Dorothy Kaetzel said.

Jean Byers, deputy chief clerk in Franklin County, Pa., said 3,545 absentee ballots were mailed out, including 400 to 500 ballots sent overseas to military personnel. Those ballots will be counted by hand during Friday's canvass. Because those ballots were mailed out before the rest of the county's ballots were printed and are formatted differently, they cannot be processed by the regular counting equipment, Byers said.

Ott agreed with Small that he does not expect any problems during the election or afterward when ballots are counted.

"We're very lucky down here," he said. "I've got a well-qualified staff. Usually if there's any quirk, we can resolve it."

Ott - who is overseeing his last election before retiring - joked that he's "going to run out the door" if there are any problems.

The Herald-Mail Articles