Canvass: Election night results unchanged

PARKERSBURG – While some candidates picked up additional votes, Wood County’s election night results remained the same after Monday’s canvass.

In the Republican race for county commission, which was the only race that could have been impacted by the 66 provisional ballots, election night winner Bob Tebay, who had 1,614 votes election night ended up with 1,626 to second-place finisher Roger Brown who had 1,593 votes election night and only picked up three votes at the canvass to finish with 1,596.

Following the canvass, when asked if he would seek a recount, Brown indicated he would not.

Tebay, who tried to withdraw his primary candidacy this spring citing health concerns, said he would announce a decision on whether he would stay in the race shortly.

“Within the next couple of days I will have a written statement I will be issuing about my decision,” Tebay said.

Once the canvass was complete, a 48-hour waiting period commenced. During that time, any candidate can request a recount.

“The candidate who requests the recount has to post $300 plus pay for the expenses of the recount,” Wood County Clerk Mark Rhodes said.

If no recount is requested, at the end of the 48-hour period, commissioners can certify the election results.

In mid-April Tebay submitted his withdrawal as a primary election candidate. The deadline to withdraw was Feb. 11. Since there was no election law addressing the situation, the commissioners asked the state attorney general for an opinion.

The attorney general’s office said Tebay’s name should still appear on the primary ballot as a Republican commission candidate and if he won the primary, the commission must certify him as the nominee. If he is to be replaced, he would have to withdraw again. If Tebay does not withdraw, he will go into the general election as the Republican party’s candidate.

The deadline to withdraw for the general election is Aug. 12.

If Tebay withdraws by the deadline, the Wood County Republican Executive Committee would need to have approval of the state Elections Committee but could then appoint a replacement nominee for him going into the general election. The party would have until Aug. 18 to nominate a candidate for the general election.

The commissioners convened as the board of canvass Monday, ruling on the provisional ballots in about an hour. The board sustained, or agreed with, the pollworker challenges to 14 ballots and overruled or ordered the remainder counted. Of the overruled challenges, 28 were Republican ballots. There were six nonpartisan overruled provisionals, the remainder were Democrat ballots. There were also four absentee ballots.

Many of the ballots that were accepted were pollworkers who had to vote out of precinct on election day because they were not working in their home precinct. That is allowable, but because they are not voting in their home precinct, their ballot must be challenged.

Many of the challenges that were upheld involved voters who were not registered in Wood County. There were voters registered in states from as far away as North Carolina who attempted to vote in the election.

Rhodes, who has been involved with the county’s elections since 2004, said that was not unusual.

“In some cases when people move here from another state and go to the Department of Motor Vehicles to have their license changed, the DMV asks if you want to also register to vote. But just checking the box saying you do want to register is not enough. You have to complete the form to actually be registered. Many people think they are registered just because they checked the box,” Rhodes said. “We get that fairly often at elections.”

There were four absentee ballots received Wednesday on the day after the primary. If ballots are postmarked election day and received prior to the canvass, they can be counted. All four absentee ballots were Republican. On those ballots, Republican commission candidate Raymond Jones picked up one vote; Sam Baker received two votes and Brown received one vote.

All the votes were then tabulated to arrive at the new totals.

The handcount was of randomly selected Precincts 67 and 77. Once the new tabulations and handcount were completed, the 48-hour waiting period began.

Brown, who along with County Republican Executive Committee chairman Greg Smith observed Monday’s canvass, admitted he was nervous watching the canvass on Monday, but remained hopeful until the end.

Brown is currently serving on Parkersburg City Council.

Of the other Republican commission candidates, Raymond Jones received 1,057 votes election night and had 1,063 after the canvass. Sam Baker had 819 votes election night and after the canvass ended up with 827.

Incumbent Wood County commissioner Wayne Dunn, a Democrat, was unopposed in the primary. He received 2,961 votes election night. After the canvass he ended up with 3,115 votes.