By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
The Tucker County Commissioners, County Clerk and staff, along with the 2020 Election Officials met on Monday, November 9 to conduct the canvass of votes and verify the official results. Before beginning the task at hand, County Clerk Sherry Simmons asked the officials to rise and take an oath of honor. She then explained the process and the voter’s right to privacy.
“By law, Tucker County counted 3,899 ballots, the law states that we count 3% of a precinct, Tucker County falls under the rules of one precinct, it is up to the County Commission at their discretion to choose the precinct that they wish counted,” Simmons stated. After looking over the list of precincts, precinct 24 was chosen as a larger precinct in order to gather a larger percent of hand counted ballots. A total of 385 ballots were cast at this polling location, which was at the St. George United Methodist Church.
Two local races were selected to be hand counted, which included the Prosecuting Attorney, separated by 20 votes on election night, and County Commissioner, Shavers Fork District, with only a two vote difference. Commission President Lowell Moore made a motion to set the recount bond at $300 with Commissioners Fred Davis and Jon Bush both in favor.
Simmons announced there were two spoiled ballots that were returned during early voting and their votes would be counted. A spoiled ballot is one that has been inadvertently marked incorrectly. There were 22 provisional ballots as of election night and after the review of the sealed envelopes, it was determined 13 ballots would be counted and nine would not be. A provisional ballot is one that the eligibility of the voter is in question and cannot be counted until eligibility is determined. The nine that were not counted were for reasons such as being submitted by a non-registered individual, canceled status, inactive status, received after deadline, and not a Tucker County resident.
Jane Greenhalgh read the ballots to the committee as they hash marked their sheets to keep count to compare with the machine. She began by reading the 13 provisional ballots which awarded Jon Bush five votes and Mike Rosenau eight within the county commissioner race. For prosecuting attorney, Ray LaMora received an additional seven votes with Savannah Hull Wilkins receiving six.
Greenhalgh then read through the ballots received for early voting and on Election Day from Precinct 24. The results from this count were Bush 182, Rosenau 189, LaMora 186 and Wilkins 183, which matched the counting machine results. There were two ballots that Simmons showed to Bush and Rosenau along with another she showed to LaMora and Wilkins that clearly showed the voter’s intent, though they were not marked correctly. These ballots will also be added to the official count.
After the canvass, it was announced that the official winners of the Tucker County Election were as follows: for County Commissioner, Rosenau received 1900 votes to Bush’s 1893, and for prosecuting attorney Wilkins received 1902 votes to LaMora’s 1882, Sheriff Jake Kopec, and Assessor Chris Michael. Candidates had 48 hours to request a recount. Moore thanked everyone for attending and assisting with the canvass before the meeting was adjourned.