Turnage wins seat on bench after full count

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A missed ballot box failed to give Kathleen Sharp the votes sheneeded to overcome Albert Turnage’s early lead in the LawrenceCounty Post 1 justice court judge race when election commissionersreturned Tuesday night to count the box.

“It was put to the side, got overlooked and was not counted. Itstayed locked. They had to unlock it to count the votes when theycame back,” assistant circuit clerk Charlie Buchanan said.

The Oakvale box did not affect the outcome of the election,Buchanan said. Turnage won the box and the election in complete butunofficial totals. His vote total increased from 683 to 711 voteswhile Sharp went from 601 to 618 votes with the addition of theOakvale votes.

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There were only a handful of affidavit and absentee votes, andthey are not expected to have an effect on the results when theyare counted today, Buchanan said.

Sharp has not filed a protest or requested a recount at thispoint, she said.

The vote counting went quickly, spurred by a low turnout,Buchanan said. Election commissioners had completed their firstcount by 8:20 p.m. They returned at 9:15 p.m. to count the Oakvalebox and stayed until 10:30 p.m.

Additional measures to ensure each box gets countedappropriately in future elections will not be needed because thiswas the last election to use the precinct boxes, Buchanan said.

“We won’t have the boxes in the future. We’ll have the new(touch-screen) voting machines,” she said.

In accordance with the Help American Vote Act of 2002, countieshave until January to replace their existing election system withthe touch-screen voting machines. The county is in the process ofpurchasing a number of the machines to be used in the nextelection.