County Canvasses; Finalizes Election

Saline County Commissioners canvassed votes on Monday.  Vote totals for races will be posted at under the County Clerk’s tab.  A representative of the County Clerk’s office could not comment on whether totals would be available today or not.

When a voter appeared at a polling location and wanted to vote on November 8, but their name or address on their identification didn’t match what was in the poll book, the voter was given a provisional ballot.  This is a paper ballot and the voter marked their choices.  Each provisional paper ballot was then placed in a sealed manila envelope and the reason for the disconnect was noted.

Commissioners quickly moved to count the 414 ballots that involved a change of address within Saline County.

Four individuals failed to provide proof of identification.  These votes were not counted.

Commissioners decided not to count 154 ballots where the voter was registered to vote in another county.  Don Merriman, County Clerk, said that a crew of election workers worked November 9, 10 and 12 to track down where these individuals were registered.  These individuals were registered in Sedgwick, McPherson and Riley counties, among others.  This process is one safeguard that prevents one individual from voting multiple times in different communities.

Then, there were 51 ballots where some votes could be counted.  Perhaps the voter was registered in one precinct and showed up to vote at another precinct.  These individuals were encouraged to vote where they were registered.  If they insisted on voting at another poling place, and their new address changed which State House district or County Commission district the person lived in, the vote(s) for those races were not counted.  Commissioners counted these votes orally.  One Commissioner opened the sealed envelope.  Another separated the ballot from the envelope.  Another read the votes while two Commissioners tallied the counts.  It took Commissioners 80 minutes to count the first 24 ballots.

As these provisional ballots were read, one could form an image of the likely voter.  Some voted along party affiliations.  Others voted for a mixture of Republicans, Democrats, Independents and Libertarians.  When it came to decisions to retain judges, many voted “yes” to retain some judges while also voting “no” to others.  Some individuals voted in a few races, others voted the entire ballot.  Many ballots were unique.

County Clerk Jamie Doss said that she’d heard some strange rumors, like how advance ballots are not counted unless the vote is close.  She said advance ballots that meet all the requirements are counted.   There was one individual who applied for an advanced ballot and then misplaced it; this individual then voted early at the County Clerk’s office.   Staff then confirmed that no mailed ballot was received for that individual.

Commissioner elect Robert Vidrickson attended part of the canvassing.  Monte Shadwick left at 11:00 AM.