Absentee Ballots To Be Counted Nov. 18

MAYVILLE – If all goes to plan, the two Jamestown City Council races to be determined by absentee ballots and provisional affidavits will be decided on Monday, Nov. 18.

On Election Day, two of the three races for City Council weren’t decided. In Ward 1, Brent Sheldon has a 28-vote lead over Tara Hall after Election Day, but 141 absentee ballots are still left to be counted. Sheldon so far has received 328 votes while Hall has received 300. Sheldon was a candidate for the Republican and Conservative parties. Hall was running on the Democratic and Independent Taxpayers party lines.

In Ward 3, Tamara Dickey has a three-vote lead over Regina Brackman. This race will be determined by 79 absentee ballots. On Election Day, Dickey received 208 votes and Brackman had 205. Dickey ran on the Republican and Conservative party lines. Brackman received the Democratic Party endorsement.

Brian Abram, county Republican election commissioner, said Nov. 18 is the last day the county Board of Elections will accept absentee ballots through the mail. He said the counting of the absentee ballots and provisional affidavits will be done that day in the afternoon at the Board of Elections in Mayville. Abram said the goal will be to count ballots for both races that day.

A provisional affidavit, if there is any from either race, is a ballot cast on Election Day, but the voter’s name was not in the registration book at the polling location.

“They feel, and we feel, they should have the opportunity to vote. We give them a ballot, and then we research to see if it is a valid ballot,” he said.

There are various reasons a voter’s name might not be in the registration book, Abram said. A couple reasons include they recently moved or they are not registered to vote.

“Just because we don’t see them in the poll book doesn’t mean they don’t have the right to vote,” he said. “We make sure they have an opportunity to vote. It is put in an envelope and sealed in a bag. Then a bipartisan team reviews each of them.”

On the day the absentee and affidavits are counted, Abram said each candidate is entitled to have a representative at the canvassing.

“People can look over them, and check them. If there is no issues, we open them and we start tallying them up,” he said.

For this year’s absentee ballot counting, Abram said the Board of Elections has a new electronic machine to tally the votes instead of it being done by hand.

“It counts them just like at a poll site,” he said. “It is an optical scan voting machine that has one purpose to tally votes for absentee ballots.”

The Gerry highway superintendent race is also too close to call. Brian Anderson (R,C) leads Mark Risley (I), 300-293. Norm Green, Democratic election commissioner said 98 absentee ballots were issued and 48 were returned as of Friday. There are also two affidavit ballots to be researched.