PAOLA — The election canvass changed some of the final vote totals but did not alter the outcome of any race in the Nov. 2 general election in Miami County.
The canvass, conducted by county commissioners Nov. 10, showed however that the outcome of one ballot question could change when the provisional ballots were tabulated.
The likelihood of that happening though would have required the equivalent of completing a Hail Mary football pass.
County Clerk Janet White said after the commissioners were finished and had left the room that 15 of the 38 provisional ballots accepted during the canvass could affect the outcome of the Paola/USD 368 Recreation Commission Question.
The unofficial results of 629 “yes” votes to 616 “no” votes on election night showed 13 votes separated proponents from opponents of forming a recreation commission in Paola.
With 15 ballots to be counted after the canvass, it was possible for the outcome to be flipped if at least 14 of those 15 ballots were “no” votes — which would have resulted in a 630 to 630 tie. White, the county’s top election official, said a tie vote would mean the question failed.
After those 15 provisional ballots were processed through the election machine, there were “eight” no votes. The question had passed by a final count of 636 to 624, according to the official results published on the county’s website.
The election featured only one serious write-in campaign, and it occurred in the Osawatomie City Council Precinct 3 race in which Derek Henness received 50 of the 52 write-in votes cast to finish second behind winner Dale Bratton, who collected 84 votes to unseat incumbent Jeff Walmann.
Though the vote totals were much smaller, write-in ballots decided two of the three open at-large seats on the Fontana City Council. Incumbent George Hall was the only person on the ballot and easily retained his seat.
The other two at-large council seats went to Brandon Ream and Kyle Coleman who each received five write-in votes. Ream and Coleman would still have to accept the positions.
Advance voting totals showed 670 ballots were cast in person at the clerk’s office and 296 were cast by mail.
The canvass showed 4,664 ballots (18.7 percent) were cast in the election. The county has 24,947 registered voters.
The county had 64 provisional ballots, with commissioners accepting 38 and rejecting 26. Fifteen of those ballots were denied because the person’s name was not in the book for that polling site and was not listed among the county’s registered voters.
Another seven provisional ballots were rejected because those individuals did not have a valid ID.
White praised her staff and volunteers for their hard work and dedication to ensure the election went smoothly.
She said election workers were dealing with 65 different ballot styles across the county — with 14 ballot styles at Louisburg alone, which also had the highest voter turnout in the county at its polling locations at Circle Grove (26.46 percent) and the Louisburg Methodist Church (25.9 percent).
Voters cast 1,186 ballots at the church out of a possible 4,580 registered for that polling location.
The polling site at Richland Township Hall, located on West 247th Street, had the lowest turnout at 5.9 percent, with 95 votes cast out of a possible 1,611.
White said the voting machines worked well, and election workers were done by 10 p.m. Full results were posted on the county’s website approximately three hours after the polls closed.
Katie Forck, the county’s Register of Deeds, sat in for Commissioner Danny Gallagher during the canvass. Council Counselor Shelley Woodard also was in attendance along with White and some members of her staff.
During the commission’s regular meeting later that afternoon, Commissioner George Pretz also talked about the election process.
“We canvassed the votes this morning and it went real well,” Pretz told the audience and those watching online. “I’m convinced we’ve got a good system, a good operation in Miami County. We’ve got a good county clerk. She’s got a good staff. She’s got really good volunteers. She finds the right facilities for people to vote in.
“Granted we spent $600,000 for new voting machines (in 2019), but at the end of the day it still takes dedicated people,” he said. “I want to congratulate and thank everyone involved in the last (Nov. 2) election.”