HUNTINGTON – While the ballots for the 2018 primary election have all been cast, officials in the Cabell County Courthouse still have work ahead of them before they close the books on their election results.
From canvassing, which is scheduled to take place Thursday, to the potential for a recount as well as finding ways to make necessary improvements for the upcoming general election, Cabell County Clerk Phyllis Smith said their work is far from over.
To begin the canvass, the Cabell County Board of Canvassers will convene at 9 a.m. Thursday, May 17, at the Cabell County Courthouse in the clerk’s office to certify the election results from the May 8 primary election.
As part of the canvass, the Board of Canvassers, made up of the three Cabell County commissioners, reviews the absentee and provisional ballots.
Per state code, counties are also required to randomly select 3 percent of their precincts to hand count. Since Cabell County has 71 precincts, it is required to hand count three precincts.
During the hand count, conducted by local citizens in the presence of the Board of Canvassers, officials look to make sure the results match the electronic tabulations.
Once the Board of Canvassers decides which provisional and absentee ballots can be counted, the votes are tabulated and added to the original returns.
After the completion of the canvass, candidates will have 48 hours to request a recount, or 48 hours after the last county has certified their results in a multi-county election.
The cost for a recount, set by the Board of Canvassers, can’t exceed $300 and is paid for by the candidate, according to state code. The recount can be no sooner than three days after the notice of recount is served to the people involved.
Smith said she believes there is only one race where a candidate might request a recount.
In the Republican primary for the West Virginia House of Delegates District 16 seats, Vera Miller beat Jarred Cannon by seven votes in Cabell County and two in Lincoln County.
Lincoln County has already declared their results, according to the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Election Night Reporting website.
Looking ahead to the November general election, Smith said there are a few improvements she is considering making, mostly regarding the voting machines, the majority of which are roughly a decade old.
In the primary election, Smith said the voting machines caused several problems and resulted in delays to tabulating precinct results.
Smith said after voting precincts closed, several of the voting machines were not properly closed, preventing the machines from tabulating the results.
As a result, Smith said, workers had to go back to where the machines were stored and bring them to the courthouse so they could be closed and the results tabulated.
Smith said she hopes much of the issues with voting machines will be solved once they’ve been upgraded.
She added that she is in talks with officials about the potential to purchase new voting machines before the general election; however, funding will be an issue as new machines will likely cost upward of $1 million.
“We’re trying to figure out our options now,” Smith said.
The 2018 general election will take place Nov. 6. The registration deadline for the general election is Oct. 16.