Board’s ballots canvass does not change results

Published 6:35 pm Friday, November 16, 2018

“It was a clean election, a very clean election,” said Kellie Harris Hopkins, elections director for Beaufort County after the canvassing of ballots from the Nov. 6 general election Friday.

The Beaufort County Board of Elections, after the hour-long canvass, certified the vote county. After reviewing 50 mailed-in supplemental absentee ballots that arrived after Election Day and 23 provisional ballots marked Election Day, votes on the approved ballots were added to vote totals from the county’s 21 precincts.

Some candidates picked up additional votes during the canvass, but that did not affect election results, the four-member board determined.

A provisional ballot is given to a person when there’s question about that person’s eligibility to vote or if there is no record of that person being registered to vote. Elections officials investigate provisional ballots to determine if they should be approved.

During the canvass, the board learned that four voters put their provisional ballots into voting machines instead of placing them inside provided envelopes and returning them to poll workers so they could be reviewed during the canvass. Two provisional ballots put into the voting machine at the P.S. Jones/Ward 3 precinct were approved by the board. A provisional ballot put into the voting machine at the Surry/Bath precinct was not approved because the person who marked it is not registered to vote in the county.

People not registered to vote in Beaufort County or who are registered to vote in other counties submitted most of the provisional ballots rejected by the board.

Mail-in absentee ballots usually must arrive at a board of elections by the Friday after an election and be postmarked by the date of the election.

“Because of (Hurricane) Florence, they were given until yesterday (Thursday) because so many post offices around the coast were affected. … This time they extended the deadline,” Hopkins said.

In the Washington Park precinct, 354 ballots were distributed to voters, but only 353 of them were placed into the voting machines, Hopkins said. She did not know why that ballot was unaccounted for, but she speculated the voter who received that ballot could have left the precinct with the ballot or changed his or her mind about voting.

Hopkins said 111 voters voted in the wrong precincts, but their votes were counted and assigned to the correct precincts.

In the election, 19,107 of the county’s, 33,600 registered voters went to the polls on Election Day or voted early.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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