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Martinsville Bulletin, Inc.
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Martinsville, Virginia 24115
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No results change after local canvass
Allen gains 200 votes in city

Thursday, November 8, 2012

By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer

Miscommunication led to 200 votes for a U.S. Senate candidate not being reported in Martinsville as election results came in Tuesday night, according to the city’s voter registrar.

As the results were being canvassed on Wednesday, city elections officials found that Senate candidate George Allen received 246 votes at Precinct 3 (the Virginia Museum of Natural History), not 46 as was originally tabulated, said Registrar Cindy Barbour.

Barbour attributed the error to miscommunication resulting from a problem with cellphone reception as a precinct official called in election results.

Despite the error, Allen came in second in Martinsville in the Senate contest with 2,301 votes. Tim Kaine, whom voters throughout the state ultimately elected to the Senate, received 3,811 votes in the city, final results show.

Both Allen and Kaine are former Virginia governors.

That was the only major error in city election results discovered during the canvass, Barbour said.

In the Martinsville City Council race, Jay Engstrom got 500 votes although he had dropped out of the race and, according to Barbour, precinct officials were instructed to tell each voter not to vote for him.

Signs also were posted at each precinct notifying voters that Engstrom no longer was in the race.

Barbour speculated that some people still voted for Engstrom to show they like him.

Still, she said she has heard some people say they did not know any of the council candidates, which may have caused them to become confused as to who to vote for.

Out of that confusion, some people may have voted for council members randomly and picked Engstrom, she said.

Engstrom could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Voter turnout was slightly more than 68 percent in Martinsville, almost 69 percent in Henry County and a little more than 70 percent in Patrick County, election results showed. Turnout in each locality was slightly less than it was for the last presidential race in 2008.

Official results indicate 6,305 of Martinsville’s 9,204 registered voters cast ballots. In Patrick County, 8,645 of the 12,295 registered voters visited the polls.

Final voter numbers were not available from Henry County on Wednesday. Unofficial results from Tuesday indicated 24,899 of the county’s 36,288 registered voters participated in the election.

After a canvass of Henry County’s election results on Wednesday, though, vote totals for Allen, presidential candidate Mitt Romney and incumbent 9th District U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith — all Republicans — increased slightly, as did totals for the two state constitutional amendments on the ballot.

However, the changes were “nothing that made any difference” in the outcomes of races, said county Registrar Elizabeth Stone.

All of the changes involved vote totals for the Gunville precinct. Stone said she thinks when precinct officials initially called in results, they included only totals from electronic voting equipment and not paper ballots distributed to people with special needs, such as the disabled.

The county generally uses electronic equipment for voting, whereas the city gives voters the choice of “touch screens” or paper ballots.

“Nobody’s perfect,” Stone said of poll workers. Overall, they did “a good job” and “worked under a lot of stress” to serve voters in a timely manner.

Patrick County Registrar Susan Taylor said no major errors in election results were discovered during Wednesday’s canvass in that county.


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