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Canvass could decide 52nd House race

KINGWOOD — Provisional and last-minute absentee ballots could decide the fate of the Republican victor in the 52nd House of Delegate race.

Preston County commissioners began canvassing the June election Monday. The first thing they worked on was to decide whether to count 98 provisional ballots and 161 absentee by mail ballots, the latter received too late to be included in the count election day but postmarked by election day.

At 4:30 p.m., when commissioners broke for the day, those provisional and absentee ballots being counted had been entered into the counting machine, but the totals had not been run, Preston County Clerk Linda Huggins said.

Those ballots could make a difference in the race for the 52nd District House of Delegates Republican race.

Unofficial results from election night showed incumbent Terri Sypolt winning with 1,042 votes to challenger Justin Hough’s 1,012. Also running on the Republican side were Robert “Mac” McCrum, who got 731 votes, and Stormy Matlick, with 317, in the unofficial count.

Most of the provisional ballots were voted by people who requested absentee ballots but didn’t return them and voted at the polls on election day. However, because they did not bring their absentee ballots to be destroyed, they voted a provisional ballot.

Huggins said the list of returned absentee ballots was compared with the provisional votes to ensure people didn’t vote twice.

During the canvass, commissioners decided which of those votes will be counted. They also had to verify that all the paperwork for all precincts is correct.

Today at 9 a.m., they will begin hand-counting ballots for Precinct 18. One precinct is drawn randomly to be counted in full. At Monday’s commission meeting, County Health Director V.J. Davis was asked to draw the number.

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