In an election counting process that seemed like it would never end, BOE District 1 Candidates Ryan Brannen and Glenn Womack were notified by email late today by Pat Jones, Bulloch County Election Superintendent that uncounted provisional ballots could affect their election.

Rejected Absentees Counted Today

Jones and election officials left the Board of Elections office at 3:30 AM June 10th with a little over 100 absentee ballots to be counted.  They had been working for hours reviewing and correcting the ballets when they decided to pause and continue today.  Election results were held up for over five hours while election officials worked through these rejected ballots.  These ballots were rejected by the new voting equipment and had to be reviewed by hand to see if they could be corrected.  In many cases it was simply, one of the dot is not filled in completely.   The process required a new identical absentee ballot to be created by hand to match the rejected ballot.  Once the issue is corrected, the machine would allow the ballet to be counted.  This process is tedious and we knew it would take some time but did not anticipate these ballots to make any significant changes in most of the elections.

After 5 PM today, June 10th the vote total countywide increased by 105 votes.  This did not change the outcome on any elections called during the night.  However, 35 of those votes were in BOE District 1 and narrowed Womack’s lead from 16 votes to 11 votes.  Our assumption is that this reflects the outstanding absentee ballots that were not counted last night.

Provisional Ballot Notification

At 5:24 PM Jones sent out an email out that was received by the candidates.  The email read as follows: (Emphasis Added)

From: Pat Lanier Jones
Sent: Wednesday, June 10, 2020 5:24:29 PM
Subject: Unofficial Results

Good Afternoon,

Please find attached a copy of the unofficial results for Tuesday’s Election.    We have roughly 100 – 125 provisional ballots (guessing, since we are still going through the paperwork) that could change some race results.    

  • The Board of Education District 1 is 11 votes difference and with the Provisionals it could make a difference.
  • There will be a run off in the Board of Education District 7 race between Lisa DeLoach and Heather Mims
  • There will be a run off in the Solicitor General’s race between Catherine Findley and Mark Lanier
  • There will be a run off in the Rep State Senate and the Special Election race between Scott Bohlke and Billy Hickman
  • There may be a run off in the Dem US Senate Seat

On the Provisionals, I cannot tell you how many are BOE District 1 – we are working on them!

Patricia Lanier Jones

Bulloch County Election Supervisor

Why a Voter Cast a Provisional Ballot

There are typically three reasons a voter will be required to cast a provisional ballot at a voting precinct on Election Day.

  1. Voter had no identification
  2. Voter showed up at wrong precinct and don’t have time to go to correct precinct
  3. Poll workers could not find voter on the voters list

By law, the Board of Elections has three business days, beginning today to make a decision on the provisional ballots.  This ends at the close of business on Friday, June 12th.

If a voter did not have their identification, they are required to bring their identification to the board of elections to have their provisional ballot counted within three business days, which began today and ends at the close of business on Friday, June 12th.  Voters without identification were given written instructions on what they needed to do to insure their provisional ballot is counted.

For the voters who showed up at the wrong precinct, their ballots will have be counted in the correct district if verified to be registered in the correct district.

The voters who cannot be found on the voters list, the Board of Elections and the registrar will research the state registration system to locate that voter and determine eligibility.

The most frequent reason a voter does not show on the voter list, is due to the fact they have moved to a new county and did not move their registration to the new place of county of residence.

The Board of Elections are required to provide to each voter who voted provisionally the decision made on the eligibility of each provisional ballot in writing.

Next Steps by Board of Elections

The elections team can determine how many provisional ballots were cast in the six precincts, which make up BOE District 1.

These six precincts include:

  • Lockhart
  • Statesboro
  • Portal
  • Fair
  • Church
  • Blitch

If there are enough provisional ballots outstanding that could affect the eleven-vote difference then this could continue until the close of business on Friday, June 12th.  If Jones determines that there are not enough to affect the election, then it will stand with Womack as the winner.  My assumption is that this will not be final until Friday evening.

Jones has ten calendar days to certify and submit the election results to the Georgia Secretary of State’s office.

To view all election results with updates view our Grice Connect Election results story here.

We will continue to keep you updated on this story as it develops.

Herschel DeWayne Grice is the founder of Grice Connect an online news and information company in Statesboro, Georgia. DeWayne has been active in the media for over three decades. He brings a unique insight...