Absentee votes partially to blame for delay in Laurel results

Absentee votes partially to blame for delay in Laurel results

LAUREL, Miss. (WDAM) - Voters in the city of Laurel waited nearly four hours after polls closed Tuesday to receive any results from the municipal primary election.

According to Mary Ann Hess, Laurel city clerk and finance director, perhaps the biggest reason for the delay was absentee votes.

“Four years ago, we received 167 absentee ballots for the entire city. This year we had double the number,” Hess said. “And so, this took a lot of time for the resolutions committee to go through and count the ballots.”

According to Hess, 349 absentee ballots were counted. She says they were not expecting to take that much time counting absentee votes.

“We had allowed about two hours for that, they started at 5 o’clock looking at those and they didn’t finish until about 8:15,” Hess said. “So that was part of the additional time right there.”

But, that wasn’t the only issue. Officials say one specific ward had double the amount of everything to get in as opposed to other wards, which also affected final results.

“There was one box from Ward 2 that was the last box to arrive,” Hess said. “But part of the reason is because it had a Democrat ballot and a Republican ballot. So they had two supply boxes, two ballot boxes, they had twice as much to try and get in.”

It might also have something to do with the different ways in which people are able to cast ballots.

“You have the machine count, the absentee ballot count and the affidavit ballot count that all has to be added together and all of that is done by hand of course,” Hess said.

Absentee ballots will still be counted five days after the election as long as they were postmarked by April 6.

Copyright 2021 WDAM. All rights reserved.