Provisional municipal ballots will be counted Friday

Published 4:12 pm Monday, November 13, 2017

COLUMBUS – A close race between two Columbus council candidates will be decided on Friday morning, Nov. 17.


The Polk County Board of Elections will meet on Friday, Nov. 17 at 10 a.m. to count provisional votes. The third seat of the Columbus council race currently has incumbent councilman Mark Phillips in the lead by three votes over Brent Jackson. Columbus has three provisional votes that have not been counted, which gives the possibility of a tie in that race.

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The board of elections will first decide whether the three provisional votes are valid. Provisional votes are votes cast in question on Election Day. In this case, the three votes are from the same address and the voters thought they were in city limits, but county records showed otherwise. Polk County Board of Elections Director Cliff Marr said he has confirmed with the town the address is in city limits, but will have to present evidence to the board of elections.


Tryon had two provisional votes and Saluda had four provisional votes that will also be determined on Friday, but no decisions will change in Tryon or Saluda because of the provisional votes.


Phillips currently has 79 votes and Jackson currently has 76 votes.


If the race ends in a tie, the board of elections will have to meet with the candidates and decide on a way to break the tie by lot, according to state statutes. Examples of making a decision by lot are drawing straws, flipping a coin or drawing a name out of a hat.


Following the provisional vote counting, the board of elections will meet at 11 a.m. to canvass all votes, which will make them official.


The schedule of the board of election’s meetings this week regarding the municipal election can be found at under the board of election page, found in the directory.