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Stewart expects smooth sailing for election

Micro Vote has assured election officials there will be no repeat of the Primary fiasco, but some county residents could be confused by the three candidates listed on the Aug. 7 ballot who are no longer in the race.
Administrator of Elections Maybell Stewart said a representative from Micro Vote came to the Election Office on July 9 to test the machine that will be used in this week’s election, and the totals attributed to each candidate matched the test card. “I don’t have any concerns there will be problems,” Stewart said.
An alphabetical error on the May 6 Republican Primary ballot that was not corrected in the Micro Vote machine used to read the tally cards brought in from the precincts led to incorrect postings on the Election Commission website of winners in the 6th District.
Commissioner Joe Grandy, who made two trips to the Election Office the night of the Primary to point out the numbers on the website did not match those at the polling locations, agreed Micro Vote went the extra step by sending a representative to work with the Election Commission.
“I’m convinced we’re fine for this election, but I didn’t get the impression we would get that same attention in November,” he said.
After the Primary, Grandy contacted state election officials and has continued to speak with county election commissioners. “They don’t feel like it’s a problem,” he said last week. “They think the May thing was a fluke, and maybe it was, but I’m not quite done yet.”
Grandy said the electorate deserves assurance the mistake won’t happen again, and he is moving on to Micro Vote for an explanation of the safeguards that have been put in place to prevent such errors in future elections.
Another unusual twist in the 2014 election season is the number of candidates on the August ballot who don’t want the office, something Stewart can’t remember ever happening in her years with Washington County.
“It was past the deadline, and the ballots had already been printed,” she said, referring to the notification of the candidates’ change of heart.
Bobby Oliver, an independent candidate in the 6th District, pulled out soon after filing his papers in February, citing family reasons.
David Shanks, current commissioner and Republican nominee for the 9th District, withdrew from the race for personal considerations in June.
And a change in residence rendered Pete Speropulos, also a current commissioner and Republican nominee, ineligible to serve the 1st District. He resigned from the commission at the first of July.
Despite their decisions, all three could be elected. “They are still legal candidates on the ballot,” Stewart said. “There’s a chance they could get the most votes.”
Should that happen, Stewart said the candidate(s) would have to resign from office. The county commission would then declare a vacancy for the seat(s), and the Election Office would announce dates for picking up nominating petitions and qualifying. Candidates who file and are approved to run would appear on the Nov. 4 General Election ballot.
Early voting for the Aug. 7 race saw a combined total of more than 500 people every day at the three sites, according to Stewart, who said those are good numbers.
Voters are reminded to bring a state or federal issued photo ID when coming to the polls this week.