| STILL WAITING – Candidates joined the Weakley County Election Commission Wednesday afternoon waiting for an official certification for the Aug. 5 election results that have yet to surface. Joining Weakley County Administrator of Elections Barbara Castleman (center) were (from left) constable candidate Mitchell Grueb, commissioner Kitty Soder, Weakley County Mayor Houston Patrick, constable candidate Anthony Smith, commissioner Liz Dinwiddie and election commission chairman Wayne Chester. |
A handful of candidates filed into the Weakley County Election Commission office on Wednesday in anticipation of becoming “official” winners of the Aug. 5 general election.
Yet, that official announcement did not come as the candidates were told they would have to wait another week.
“I’ve been through eight different elections every four years. I have never known of an election to not be certified. I guess I don’t understand,” Weakley County Mayor Houston Patrick commented during a Weakley County Election Commission meeting Wednesday afternoon.
The proposed purpose of the meeting was to “certify” the results of the Aug. 5 election. That certification never came.
“When we set this meeting up, we were hopeful that we would have everything in place by today,” election commission chairman Wayne Chester said.
“I told Mr. Chester yesterday (Tuesday) that I didn’t think we could get it certified,” Weakley County Administrator of Elections Barbara Castleman said.
Castleman and Chester explained that the State apparently required more information that wasn’t requested until Wednesday morning, rendering them incapable of certifying the election by Wednesday afternoon.
“We have to make sure the same number of voters match the number of signatures for application of a ballot. We also have to make sure that the numbers of the tape match the numbers of the polling boxes tally,” Castleman added.
“We probably are not the only county that hasn’t certified the election across the state,” she added.
The deadline to certify the Aug. 5 election is Aug. 23. The election commission plans to meet at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 19 with the purpose of approving qualifying candidates for the November city elections as well as to certify the Aug. 5 election.
In other election news, Chester asked for suggestions from commissioners to ensure a smooth November election.
“We’ve gone through two elections. Something’s got to be done by November. We’ve got to be more organized,” commissioner Liz Dinwiddie commented.
When asked to elaborate, Dinwiddie suggested utilizing experienced poll workers in November and not allowing new workers to man the polling booths.
Other commissioners argued that there had to be a balance of Republican and Democrat-appointed poll workers this year.
“When poll workers bring the boxes back to this office, there should be one Republican and one Democrat from each precinct bringing the boxes back. I don’t think that happened on election night. We need to address that,” Dinwiddie commented.
Dinwiddie also suggested counting all of the write-in candidates the night of the election.
“Write-in votes, we need to get those counted. It didn’t affect outcome, but it didn’t look good to not have it done until the next day,” she added.
The Weakley County Election Commission will meet again at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 19.
Until that time, the results of the Aug. 5 election remain unofficial.
Candidates for the municipal elections in November have until noon on Thursday, Aug. 19 to file qualifying petitions for the election.