Canvass scheduled for Monday

PARKERSBURG – With only 21 votes separating them, the Republican race for Wood County Commission could potentially be affected by Monday’s canvass of the primary election.

Election night results are unofficial until the canvass is complete.

Former County Commissioner Bob Tebay finished Tuesday night with 1,614 votes to his nearest competitor, Parkersburg City Councilman Roger Brown’s 1,593. Republican commission candidate Raymond Jones received 1,057 votes and Sam Baker got 819 votes.

Tebay, citing a health issue, attempted to remove his name from the primary election ballot, but could not because the deadline to do so passed.

Democrat incumbent County Commissioner Wayne Dunn. Dunn received 2,949 votes.

“With the small turnout and the fact we only have to hand count two precincts this time, I’m expecting to finish up the same day,” Wood County Clerk Mark Rhodes said of the canvass.

The commission will convene as the board of canvass beginning 9 a.m. Monday at the courthouse.

Rhodes said the county commission race appears to be the only one with votes close enough that it could potentially be affected. There were 66 provisional or challenged ballots from Tuesday’s election.

The 72 absentee ballots which were cast have already been added into the election night totals, the clerk said.

When a pollworker challenges a ballot it is marked provisional to be checked by the board of canvass. The board must decide to either sustain the challenge in which case the vote would not be counted, or overrule the challenge which means the ballot would be counted.

Traditionally, in the past, the provisional ballots tend to go about half and half and follow election night trends.

“They are usually about half Republicans and half Democrats, and usually split the same way as election night returns, in general that’s usually how it goes,” Rhodes said.

The hand count of 2 percent of the precincts, in this case two precincts is the most time-consuming part of the canvass process. Prior to the precinct consolidation, four precincts had to be hand-counted.

A hand count is made of the paper printouts from the iVotronics to verify the computer numbers.

Once the canvass is complete, the county commission can declare the primary election results.

At that point, if someone wishes to request a recount, they have 48 hours to do so.

The candidate who requests the recount has to post bond and pay for the expenses involved with the hand count process.

The last time in recent memory any election night results changed after the canvass was the 2004 election pitting Ken Merritt and Steve Greiner in the sheriff’s race. Merritt was down by seven votes election night, but after the canvass ended up 11 votes ahead of Greiner. There were 296 challenged ballots that year, which was a November presidential general election.

The clerk’s office could still receive absentee by mail ballots, which would be counted.

“As long as they are postmarked election day and received before the canvass begins, they can still be counted during the canvass,” Rhodes said.

Tebay said election night if he is declared the nominee following the canvass, he will quickly make a decision as to what he will do.

In mid-April, Tebay had submitted a letter asking to have his name withdrawn from the race citing health concerns. Since the request came after the Feb. 11 deadline for candidates to withdraw, the attorney general said his name should remain on the ballot and if he was the winner of the primary, he would be the nominee. If Tebay wishes to withdraw his candidacy, he would then have to file another withdrawal request. The deadline to withdraw for the general election is Aug. 12.

On election night, Tebay said he appreciated the votes he received and said he had not decided whether he would withdraw, but he would not leave everyone waiting long for a decision.