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Absentee ballot count begins in Washington County

November 07, 2008|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- As he watched absentee ballots counted Thursday, Washington County Board of Education candidate Justin M. Hartings quipped that he was there to make sure his lead stayed intact.

At the end of Election Day, Hartings was in fourth place in a race for four school board seats. His lead over fifth-place candidate Jacqueline B. Fischer was 21,120 to 19,074 -- a margin of 2,046 votes.

Election officials went through 2,192 of the roughly 4,000 absentee ballots that had been received by Thursday. They did not release new vote totals.

Washington County Election Director Dorothy Kaetzel said 1,000 more absentee ballots will be counted today and the remainder, about 800, on Nov. 14.

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There also are about 1,000 provisional ballots left to count Monday, according to Kaetzel. Provisional ballots are issued at polling places to people whose voter registration status is in doubt on Election Day.

Hartings said he felt good about the vote buffer he had, but he wouldn't assume anything until results were final.

However, Fischer said Wednesday she realized absentee ballots would not change her place in the race.

Wayne D. Ridenour led the field of eight school board candidates with 25,668 votes.

W. Edward Forrest was second with 22,138 votes, followed by Donna Brightman with 21,930 votes.

Ridenour and Brightman currently serve on the board. Forrest was on the board for seven years before he resigned in 2007.

-- Staff writer Erin Cunningham contributed to this story

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