Lundy Baker and Joseph Dunkle must wait at least one more day before learning which of them captured the Beaufort County Board of Education's District 4 seat in Tuesday's election, according to county elections director Marie Smalls.
With no candidate on the ballot, Baker and Dunkle waged write-in campaigns to represent parts of the city of Beaufort and the town of Port Royal.
Elections officials must manually review write-in votes and had not finished their tally of the 570 votes cast in the district, Smalls said Wednesday.
Smalls expects to announce 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 in tallying write-ins 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 more write-ins than usual across all races on ballots this week, she added.
Most of those write-in campaigns were easily defeated Tuesday, none receiving more than a few hundred votes in races that were decided by thousands, according to unofficial results. However, each elections office must tally every write-in candidate for the State Elections Commission, no matter how small the number of votes, 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 a while 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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