° empty

Still no vote tally

NATCHEZ — The election commission and political parties are making their lists and checking them twice before releasing the final vote totals from last week’s election.

Election Commission Chairman Larry Gardner said absentee ballots for District 5 were completely counted by approximately 3 p.m. Monday, and reports had begun to be printed. Districts 1-4 had been counted by Saturday morning.

“(We print) reports for every precinct, for every party,” he said. “I don’t know how long the sheet of paper will end up being — probably several hundred feet.”

Those reports are scanned into multiple, unlinked systems to make it harder for someone to skew an election’s results, Gardner said.

“It has a lot of built-in security,” he said. “But it does tend to slow things down.”

Gardner added that the computers are running slowly because other counties, like Jackson, are counting absentee ballots as well. He also said the server has kicked the commission out several times; so entering data is a slow process.

Once the Democratic Party has certified its numbers today, the final numbers can be announced, but he said he still isn’t sure what time they’ll do that.

Absentee ballots have potential to affect the results of the District 94 House seat race and the circuit clerk race, although the chance of absentee votes swaying those outcomes is unlikely.

If 545 absentee ballots were cast were for Incumbent Circuit Clerk Eddie Walker, he’ll avoid a runoff with Jennifer “Lady J” Minor.

Natchez Alderman James “Rickey” Gray could beat Incumbent District 94 Rep. Robert L. Johnson III if a large majority of absentee ballots were cast for him.

However, it’s more likely that Johnson has won with the 53 percent of the Aug. 2 vote he received.

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