Absentee count goes on, no official results yet

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 6, 2011

ERIC SHELTON. THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Tom McNeely sorts absentee ballots at the Adams County Courthouse Friday.

NATCHEZ — Interested candidates and citizens will have to wait until Monday for absentee voting results.

Election commission members and political party members in charge of entering approximately 700 absentee ballots in the computer system said Thursday they might have the results by Friday; however, one district’s results have yet to be counted.

Election Commission Chairman Larry Gardner said the Democratic party members have completed Districts 1 through 4, and expect to complete District 5 Monday.

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“It is time consuming,” Gardner said of counting absentees. “There’s a lot of checking and double checking.”

Less than 100 Republican absentee ballots cast Tuesday were counted by Thursday, but a result report cannot be made until all ballots are entered.

ERIC SHELTON/THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Party primary members Tom McNeely, left, and J.T. Seale sort out absentee ballots Friday morning at the Adams County Courthouse in Natchez.

Gardner said the Democratic party workers, who actually process the absentees using a laborious process, worked from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday.

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

Circuit Clerk Incumbent Eddie Walker could win the election outright if 545 absentee ballots cast were for him.

It is more likely Walker will end up in a runoff with Jennifer “Lady J” Minor.

District 94 Incumbent Rep. Robert L. Johnson III has celebrated his with 53 percent of Tuesday night’s votes cast for him. It is possible, but not likely, that Natchez Alderman James “Rickey” Gray could beat Johnson if a large majority of absentee ballots were cast for him.

Gardner said he much preferred that primary poll workers take their time and process absentees correctly rather than risk a tainted election.