Valdosta Daily Times

November 13, 2012

Voting tallies certified

Work for Board of Elections far from over

Jason Schaefer
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — The Lowndes County Board of Elections managed to certify the final numbers for the 2012 general election Monday at 5 p.m. The absolute deadline is 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Out of 2,909 provisional ballots, only 837 counted, and none of the races were close enough to be upset by these votes, according to Supervisor of Elections Deb Cox.

It takes between 20 and 30 minutes for election workers to accept or reject each ballot, during which time the workers do all they can to get a ballot to count, according to Cox.

“We do everything possible to count it,” Cox said about each ballot. “We’ll check the Department of Motor Vehicle records, check the home file, check deleted files to check delete status. We do want them all to count.”

All provisional voters are informed by mail as to whether their votes were counted, Cox said.

About 10 workers labored from Tuesday through the weekend to count all Lowndes County votes and certify the totals, Cox said. The process is meticulous, involving computer tracking, cross-checking, counting and re-counting.

“It’s unbelievable the checks and balances we use,” Cox said.

Not all voters vote the entire ballot. In fact, most do not, according to Cox. Some will skip a page, some will skip certain races and some will choose their pick for president and leave.

“So within that 837, not all of them voted both pages,” Cox said.

While the vote is certified, the work is far from finished. There are “mountains” of paperwork to sift through, including “feet and feet” of voter registration forms, Cox said.

“We’ll review every piece of paper generated, make sure they're sorted and filed, and then we review the training process, and review the problems,” Cox said. “We fine-tune after every election to make the next one better. That’s what made early voting simpler.”

The Board of Elections knows no off-season, Cox said. The Board will prepare for a special election for Dasher and Remerton in March, work through redistricting issues and get familiar with a new computer system.

“We’re always busy, and voter registration never stops,” Cox said.