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Officials review primary election performance

POSTED: August 13, 2008 5:00 a.m.
    This month's Board of Elections & Registration meeting, held on Monday, focused on Liberty County's 2008 primary elections, their weaknesses, and where corrections could and should be made.
    Ella Golden, election supervisor, said that there were a few problems at the polls, but that most of them were caused by voters who didn't fully understand the rules and regulations associated with voting. "We had one lady who moved her residency out of Liberty County, but she still wanted to vote here in Liberty County," she said. "But all in all, the election went along just fine."
    The board's chairman, Stephen Mullice, shifted the discussion to what would be its primary topic. "The concern I have is that the results have to get out faster," he said. "We need to remember that some people have heavy stakes in this. We'll have a sheriff or the chairman of the board sitting here in the office wanting to know what's taking so long."
    "And 'I don't know' is not a good answer," Byron Mobley, a member of the board, added. "I think that after the machines are shut down at seven o'clock we have to be johnny-on-the-spot to get the results out, and if [the poll workers] can't do it we need to find people who can."
    "Yes," Chairman Mullice agreed, "if the polls close at 7:30, we should have the information by 8:30."
    After polls closed at this year's primary elections, it took much longer than an hour to gather unofficial results. "I can say that the information started being disseminated and we were finished by 10:27 p. m.," Golden said. "We did have some glitches, but as best as I can remember from looking at my reports, at 10:27 we had all of our information finished."
    Not all members of the board were in agreement that promptness should be priority. "I'm more concerned with getting the total correct than with getting it done quickly," said Samuel Harris.
    But the final word seemed to fall on the side of obtaining expedited results. Board member Esaw Kelly said, "By 8:30, we can put out an unofficial report of what we have at the time. There's really no reason why we can't do that."
Despite the alacrity with which poll numbers are gathered, results aren't officiated until the Friday of the election week. "You can consolidate numbers the day after the election, but it's not official until Friday," Chairman Mullice said.

 

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