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Confusion slows results of Georgia Primary Races

by Neil B. McGahee

Managing Editor

An election day marred by confusion about operating new voting machines has caused delays in releasing the results of state and local races in the June 9 Georgia Primary leaving the candidates exasperated when 20 hours after the polls closed, only unofficial results could be released.

“So far we have no reports of any actual equipment issues,” said Gabriel Sterling, Voting Implementation Manager. “We do have reports of equipment being delivered to the wrong locations and delivered late and reports of poll workers not understanding how to setup or operate voting equipment.”

Sterling also said the blame lay at the feet of the counties engaging in poor planning, limited training and failures of leadership.”

But an official in the Secretary of State’s office — who didn’t give his name — said the delays were caused by the unexpected plethora of absentee ballots that slowed the count and by voting machine failures caused by poorly trained poll workers.

“It’s a sad state of affairs that we have all this incredible technology and we cant get an accurate count nearly a day later,” said Republican candidate Carden Summers. “I’ve been getting numbers all over the place and I can’t do or say anything because nothing is official.”

In the Second Congressional District Republican race, Cordele pastor Don Cole seems to have defeated Vivian Childs, 52.4 percent to 47.6 percent with 19,625 votes to 17,796. But that result is unofficial and not certified. If Cole’s numbers are accurate he will face Democrat incumbent Sanford Bishop in the November election.

“I will be very proud to represent the Second District as the Republican candidate,” Cole said. “I want to congratulate Vivian Childs on running a clean race and I ask her supporters to come together with us to defeat Sanford Bishop.”

Cordele businessman Summers was leading Spud Bowen, 55 percent to 45 percent and a total vote count of 8,297 to 6,744, although he was quick to point out that those numbers aren’t official. Summers will face Democrat Mary Egler, who held a big lead over Ruenett Melton.

In the race for the Crisp County Commission District 2 Post 1 seat, Mark Crenshaw received 2,232 votes or 79 percent to Bill Wilson’s 585 votes or 21 percent.

Amber Roberts Holloway defeated Mark Ellenberg, 63 percent to 37 percent to retain her position as Crisp County Probate Court Judge.

In Dooly County Tax Commissioner race, Paula Smith, a former employee defeated her ex-boss Faye Mixon, 63 to 37 percent.

Also in Dooly, Tim Robinson defeated Willie Barnes 60 to 40 percent for the District 4 County Commission seat and incumbent Michael Bowens defeated Eddie Clyde Almond 55 to 45 percent in the race for the District 4 seat on the Dooly School Board.