Lundy Baker and Joseph Dunkle must wait another day before officials declare either a winner in their race for the Beaufort County Board of Education's District 4 seat, according to county elections director Marie Smalls.
With no candidate on the ballot, Baker and Dunkle waged late write-in campaigns to represent portions of the city of Beaufort and the town of Port Royal in Tuesday's general election.
However, elections officials have to manually review write-in votes and had not finished tallying Wednesday afternoon the 570 votes cast in the district, Smalls said.
That number already includes some absentee ballots in the district, but elections staff still need to add remaining absentee and some provisional write-in votes before it can declare a winner, she said.
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Smalls expects to issue a news release with unofficial write-in counts for all countywide races Thursday. The county Board of Canvassers will certify local election results at 10 a.m. Friday at the elections office at 15 John Galt Road in Beaufort.
The delay tallying write-ins from Tuesday's election is unusual but not unexpected after five local candidates formally declared write-in campaigns for county offices last month, Smalls said. Voters also seem to have submitted a higher-than-normal number of write-ins across all of the races on ballots this week, she added.
Most of those campaigns were easily defeated Tuesday, none receiving no more than a few hundred votes in races that were decided by thousands, according to unofficial results. However, each elections office is required to finalize each write-in result it receives for the State Elections Commission, no matter how small, Smalls said.
"This is not normal for us to get the write-ins done like this, but we have to set up spreadsheets to go through each race," Smalls said. "We have to upload all that data, and it's taking us awhile to do that because we have to do this for every precinct, and we've got write-ins in almost every contest in this particular case."
Follow reporter Zach Murdock at twitter.com/IPBG_Zach.
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