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With close races, questions remain as election day ends

As the election board wrapped up a long Tuesday, beginning at roughly 5 a.m., with the electricity off at one polling location, and ending near 11 p.m. two big questions remained unanswered.

            First, who would win the east end commissioner race? As they left Tuesday with all early voting and voting at the polls counted, Josh Tatum held a seven vote lead, 1959 over Dave Garner’s 1952. But there remained a handful of provisional ballots flagged for some irregularity on Tuesday that would have to be handled Wednesday and the possibility of more absentee paper ballots arriving by mail later this week.

            Elections supervisor Stacey Godfrey said they are required to wait until Friday to see if any more ballots arrive with postmarks before the election. If so, they must be counted.

Godfrey said based on the absentee ballots requested and those that had been counted Tuesday, there could be around 30 more ballots out there. Of course, those thirty people may have later decided not to vote at all.

            The second big question is whether Josh Tippens can avoid a runoff to claim the west end commission seat? At closing Tuesday, he had 49.68 percent of the 3,470 votes counted but needs 50 percent plus 1 vote to win without facing David Shouse, the second highest vote getter, in a runoff.

            As it stands now, Tippens sits with 1,724 votes; Shouse with 970; Brian Cleghorn with 530; Robert Watson with 128 and Rick Tucker with 118. 

            In the one local race that was definitely decided, Steve Lowe won a contested school board seat against Suzanne Fowler 3,921 to 3,046.

            Elections supervisor Godfrey said they will wait until Friday afternoon to have a meeting to certify the totals giving them a chance to see if any more ballots show up.

            As to the voting, Godfrey said after rushing to secure a generator until power could be restored at the Appalachian polling spot, the day ran smoothly. She commended all the poll workers and managers.

            Watch for details throughout the week here.

All local results from secretary of state website.

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