Valdosta Daily Times

November 10, 2012

Official election results not certified Friday

More than 1,000 provisional ballots remain to be counted

Jason Schaefer
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — The results of the Lowndes County elections were not officially certified Friday because of the large amount of provisional ballots.

Lowndes County Board of Elections workers will spend a busy weekend counting the more than 1,000 provisional ballots to meet the official Tuesday deadline to submit them to Atlanta.

The board counted 1,035 provisional ballots in the 2008 election, and Elections Supervisor Deb Cox is confident the 2012 ballots will far exceed that number.

Provisional ballots are submitted on paper by any voter whose official voting place is not immediately clear.

They take between 20 and 30 minutes each to certify. In the process, workers make sure the voters have cast ballots for the representatives that match their districts, and that the voters are registered in Lowndes County.

“The purpose of provisional ballots is to give extra time to evaluate whether their vote should be counted,” Cox said. “We don’t turn any voter away.”

However, in spite of the large number of ballots still remaining, the margins in all races are already wide enough to indicate the winners, Cox said. In no

election does every provisional vote count, and even if all ballots did count, they would not

overturn any race.

Most Lowndes County races can be counted and certified by 5 p.m. the Friday after election days.

The board hopes to have all ballots counted by Monday, but their official deadline is 9 a.m. Tuesday, when the ballots will be transported from the board to Atlanta.

While Lowndes County’s job seems difficult, it’s nothing compared to Atlanta’s list of provisionals numbering in the 10,000s, Cox said.