It was nearly 1 a.m. Wednesday before the results of the Chesterfield County School Board election were finally tallied. Technical difficulties were blamed for delays in Pageland and McBee. However, by midnight, old fashioned pencil and paper methods were the ultimate solution in determining the “voter’s intent” for write-in candidates.
For the new U.S. Congressional Seat, District 7, the votes were tallied and printed electronically without problem, once they reached the Chesterfield County Voter’s Registration Office. In Pageland there were problems with a battery, causing election officials not to make it to Chesterfield with their ballots until 9 p.m. And in McBee, other technical problems prohibited them from getting to Chesterfield until 10 p.m.
In the Republican primary for South Carolina’s U.S. Congressional District 7, there were 394 votes cast for Tom Rice; 320 for Andre Bauer; 229 for Jay Jordan; 45 for Katherine Jenerette; 33 for Chad Prosser; 13 for Renee Culler; 13 for Randal Wallace; 9 for Dick Withington; and 3 for Jim Mader.
In the Democratic primary for the Congressional District 7 seat, there were 815 votes cast for Preston Brittain; 467 cast for Gloria Bromell Tinubu; 198 for Ted Vick; 48 for Parnell Diggs; and 21 for Harry Pavilack.
Nearly three hours after those results were posted, election officials were still in the process of determining the winners of the school board races. The school board votes had to be tallied by hand because each time a write-in candidate’s name was not spelled correctly the computer would tally it as a different vote. Even too many spaces between a candidate’s first and last name caused the computer to list it as a separate candidate’s vote.
The solution was to have election board officials collectively tally the votes, with paper and pencil, to determine the “voter’s intent” for each candidate’s name that was misspelled.
Apparently, some voters were confused as to who was running for school board in their district. There were a lot of write-in votes that were cast for candidates running in a different district. At one point in the evening, William Watson, the only candidate on hand Tuesday evening, shook his head and said, “I have more votes in District 6 than I do in District 7.”
Any vote that was cast in the wrong district was not counted.
However, a write-in campaign worked for Watson. Unofficially, he received 215 votes in District 7 for the win. That was more than enough to beat incumbent candidate Shannon Polson, whose name was printed on the ballot. She received 163 votes.
The unofficial results of the Chesterfield County School Board election declared Chad Vick the winner of the uncontested race in District 4. In District 5, incumbent Jamie Wayne received 261 votes to beat write-in candidate Olive Tyner, who received 17. The school board seats are non-partisan, so the election is final. Partisan races will be on the November General Election ballot.
According to Lois Burr, director for the Chesterfield County Voter’s Registration Office, there will most likely be a run-off election for the Congressional seat. However, as of press time Wednesday morning, that has not been officially determined. Election results, said Burr, are not considered to be “official” until after the canvas meeting on Thursday.
— Staff Writer Karen Kissiah can be reached by calling 843-537-5261, ext. 224, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.