ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) - Limestone County election officials say they missed an entire precinct while tallying votes Tuesday night. Turns out the votes from one of the machines at Round Island Baptist Church, in the Reid community, were not counted.
When those votes were counted Wednesday and the new numbers added up, the only thing that effectively changed was the percentage of Limestone County voters who took the time to go to the polls and cast a ballot. None of the races were affected to make a difference in the outcome. Probate Judge Charles Woodroof spoke with a few of us Thursday afternoon to explain how it happened.
Judge Woodroof explains with the new voting machines, results are delivered on computer thumb drives. In fact these are the very thumb drives from the Round Island church polls. One of them was simply overlooked tuesday night.
"It's our duty and responsibility to make sure that each and every vote that is legally cast is correctly counted," Woodroof told WHNT News 19. He added, "Once the situation, we were made aware that there was some votes that had not been properly counted, the votes were counted and amended unofficial results were released today."
It means the countywide voter turnout increased from 22.6% to just over 23%. A total of 204 votes spread out over a number of races, the difference was measured in fractions.
Watching closely, though, was county commission candidate Jason Black. He won't know until the provisional ballots are counted next week whether he'll have to face a run-off election.
"I understand there were 23 provisional ballots that affect the district I'm running for. The new box that was determined not to have been counted on Tuesday evening increased my percentage to .02% over the 50%. You have to have 50% plus one vote to win without a run-off," Black said.
Judge Woodroof says the new voting machines sped up the process, but that may have contributed to the mistake. He says the thumb drives all have a unique barcode. So from now on they'll use a checklist so they'll know they if they've missed a machine.
Those provisional ballots will be officially counted and certified next Tuesday. There were 63 in Limestone County.