Looking Back on the May 10th Pocahontas County Elections
With all the election controversies nationwide, we felt it was worth looking back on the May 10th Pocahontas County Primary Election’s official canvass, which is the process used by the County Commission to verify and certify the results of the election.
The Commission conducted the election canvass on May 16th. The commissioners, and election officials took and signed an oath to conduct the election canvass honestly.
County Clerk Missey Bennett explained that the Secretary of State’s Office requires that the hand recount of one precinct drawn out of a jar containing the numbers of all the county precincts must be hand counted during the canvass. They drew precinct #26, which is the Mill Point area of the county, in which there were 65 ballots cast during the election. Commissioner John Rebinski read off the selections for all the races on each of the ballots, while judges from each political party marked down the voter’s selections. At the end of that, the Secretary of State requires that the judges’ count must match, and the results of the hand recount must be within 1% of the machine count, or all precincts would have to be hand counted. The results for Precinct 26 were a 100% match with the machine count.
Next, they counted the ballot stubs and voter signatures for all 16 precincts and those too had to, and did, match the number of ballots cast in each precinct.
They next looked at the sealed envelopes containing the 21 provisional ballots that were cast in the county, plus one ballot that that the vote tabulating machines could not read. They ended up allowing 18 of those 21 provisional ballots to count and with witnesses viewing, they transferred the unreadable ballot selections to a new ballot. Most of the provisional ballots they accepted were from poll workers who were assigned to precincts other then the one they are supposed to vote in, but cast provisional ballots in the precinct they were assigned to work in, which is allowed under state rules. Several others that were approved included a person who had a recent surgery and was unable to travel to their correct precinct and several others where the voter was not found in the eligible voter book at the precinct, but subsequent investigation showed they were properly registered in their precinct, but were omitted from the precinct book in error.
Among reasons for denial were a voter registered in a different precinct but insisted on voting in an incorrect precinct, as well as several voters who had not bothered to register to vote at all.
Altogether, out of the 5,410 voters registered in the county, only 1,792, or 33.12% cast ballots in the May 10th election. Of those who did vote, 980 cast Republican Ballots, 758 cast Democrat ballots, 54 cast Nonpartisan ballots – which means they could only vote for the non-partisan Board of Education candidates, and there were 2 blank ballots cast.
As to when they voted, 1,355 voters voted on election day, 382 voted during early voting, and 55 voted absentee ballots.
47.27% of registered republicans voted, 43.82% of registered Democrats voted and only 3.36% of registered Nonpartisans voted.
The canvass did not change the results of any of the contests.
The canvass results were officially certified by the County Commission on May 23, 2022.