Equipment issues hamper Primary results in Oktibbeha County

 Election commissioners are sworn in before ballots were counted on Tuesday in Oktibbeha County (Photo by Ryan Phillips, SDN)
By: 
RYAN PHILLIPS
SDN Editor

Two voting precincts in Oktibbeha County have yet to be processed after technical issues with voting equipment caused headaches for local election officials on Tuesday night.

Oktibbeha County Circuit Clerk Tony Rook, who is in his first term in office, told the Starkville Daily News that the state-contracted firm ES&S Voting Machine Products was unable to process the last two precincts due to an issue with the server.

“At this point, we don’t know what the exact technical issue is,” he said shortly before midnight. “The company, ES&S, has been working on this for two hours and has been unable to resolve the issue.”

The two precincts yet to be processed are South Adaton and Bell Schoolhouse, which are both smaller districts according to election officials.

Election commissioners and officials will reconvene today sometime between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. to begin the task of working through the technical problems so unofficial results can be released.

PRELIMINARY NUMBERS

While the unofficial results from Oktibbeha County were not released by press deadline on Tuesday night, all of the races were decided before the close of the day.

In Oktibbeha County, there are still nine Republican affidavit ballots and 13 Democrat affidavit ballots that will be opened on Wednesday morning. While the unofficial total has not been released, there were over 200 absentee ballots submitted in Oktibbeha County.

With all but two precincts reporting, the Republican Primary for U.S. Senate saw the most ballots cast, with 2,331. Republican Sen. Roger Wicker won handily against R. Warren Boyanton, carrying 2,039 votes, or 87 percent in Oktibbeha County.

The Republican Primary for the 3rd Congressional District Race saw the second-highest turnout in Oktibbeha County, with 2,151 ballots cast among the 18 precincts reporting.

On the Democratic side, the Primary for Senate saw 1,329 voters cast ballots from the 18 precincts in Oktibbeha County. David Baria finished with the highest vote total as of the close of Election Day, with 509 votes, or 38.30 percent of the vote. His future runoff opponent, Howard Sherman, carried 33.03 percent of the vote with two precincts left to be processed.

At the county level, Whit Hughes ended Tuesday night with 44 percent of the vote, while the candidate he will face in the runoff, Michael Guest, carried 594 votes or 27.62 percent. Perry Parker finished third as of Tuesday night with 406 votes in Oktibbeha County, or 18.87 percent.

The Democratic Primary for the 3rd Congressional District saw the victory called for State Rep. Michael Ted Evans, who carried 792 votes or 66.22 percent in Oktibbeha County against challenger Michael Aycox.

In the Republican and Democratic primaries for the 1st Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Trent Kelly and Randy Wadkins ran unopposed, respectively.

In terms of turnout, poll workers across the county lamented the low participant rate, which is still to be determined on Wednesday.

Carla Jones has been volunteering as a poll worker for about 20 years and was working at the National Guard Armory on Highway 12 Tuesday.

“We are one of the largest precincts,” she said late Tuesday afternoon. “We should’ve had a larger turnout. We haven’t even had a thousand people.”

The Starkville Daily News will provide a full breakdown of the unofficial results on Wednesday, or as soon as the issue is resolved and numbers are released.

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