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Absentee ballot counting begins

November 10, 2006|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

WASHINGTON COUNTY - The Washington County Board of Elections on Thursday counted two-thirds of the roughly 3,600 absentee ballots it received for this year's general election, but it didn't give a vote update.

The races for Washington County Commissioners and Washington County Board of Education are close enough that absentee ballots could change the results, but the county's election director said that's not likely.

After Tuesday's election, the difference in the commissioners race between fifth place and sixth place was about 1,600 votes. The top five vote-getters win election.

In the board of education race, the difference between third place and fourth place was more than 2,400 votes. The top three vote-getters win election.

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After counting 2,430 ballots Thursday, the board of elections didn't give an update on vote totals, but it will today when the rest of the ballots are counted.

The board's next task after today will be counting provisional ballots, which voters cast at the polls if their registration was in doubt.

Election data says 471 provisional ballots were cast at the county's 50 precincts. They will be counted Monday.

Some absentee ballots were put aside Thursday. Half will be counted with provisional ballots Monday. The other half will be counted Nov. 17, along with absentee ballots that were postmarked before Election Day but hadn't arrived by Thursday.

The board issued about 4,060 absentee ballots. About 450 hadn't been returned by Thursday.

Board members examined absentee ballots and envelopes Thursday to see if they were postmarked on time, signed and properly marked.

In some cases, board members copied ballots over when voters' intentions were clear but they didn't properly mark their ballots.

From there, ballots were fed, one at a time, into two optical scanning machines.

Four Republicans - John F. Barr, Terry Baker, William J. Wivell and James F. Kercheval - took the top four spots in the county commissioners race Tuesday.

Democrat Kristin B. Aleshire finished fifth - 1,605 votes ahead of Democrat Donna L. Brightman, according to complete but unofficial results.

In the nonpartisan race for three board of education seats, William H. Staley finished third on Tuesday, 2,449 votes in front of incumbent Jacqueline B. Fischer.




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As of Thursday, voters had returned about 3,600 absentee ballots in Washington County's general election.

What's new: The Washington County Board of Elections counted about two-thirds of the absentee ballots Thursday.

What's next: The board will count the rest of that batch today - except for a small group to be counted next week, along with absentee ballots that hadn't reached the board's office by Thursday. Next week, the board also will count provisional ballots, which were cast at the polls by voters whose registration was in doubt.

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