Voting in Scotland County went off without a hitch according to county Elections Director Dell Parker.
The only snag was when Parker attempted to enter some of the results into an Excel file for the convenience of those assembled at the Laurinburg Superior Courthouse, where people gathered to get returns in the local races.
“The Excel program froze up,” Parker said.
In the end, Parker used the NC Board of Elections’ print out system to organize the results. This led to only a slight delay for those assembled at the court house.
“I usually try to cater to our local people, and to get them the information they are waiting for first, but because of the computer freeze I had to report my results to the state board of elections first,” Parker said.
None of the vote tallying was affected, Parker said.
“The only disappointment was that more people did not turn out.”
There were a total of 14,112 votes were cast in the county in early One-Stop voting and on Election Day, down from the 14,301 that were cast during the last presidential election cycle in 2008.
Asked if she thought the lack of an extra Sunday of early voting was the reason for the decline, Parker said that she did not believe that was the case.
“The Saturday before that last Sunday we had about 600 votes cast when some churches bussed in some voters, and they were all served without a problem, with no one left in line” Parker said.
Some local Democratic groups, including the Scotland County Democratic Women, had lobbied the board of elections for an extra Sunday of early voting.
Parker said that 351 provisional ballots were cast in the county by people whose names could not be found on voter registries at their precincts.
“These are often cast by people that didn’t update their address or who mistakenly thought that they could register at the polls,” Parker said.
“Our belief is that if you come out, you should get to vote, so if the ballots were cast at the wrong precinct but were valid, with valid registrations, we will count them.”
Elections Assistant Director Jerry Johnson said that the Sneads Grove precinct took the longest to return its results to the Laurinburg office.
“There were some new forms, and they took a little longer balancing up the vote,” said Johnson, referring to the process that each precinct undergoes after polls close.
Precincts must account for every ballot they were given at the end of the day, Johnson said.
Following another smooth election day, Parker and Johnson both agreed that the county’s system which involves both paper ballots and computer processing is the best around.
“You have a paper trail and convenience. I would not change it. No way,” Parker said.