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Write in woes:
Health Dept. Board Results
By Shari Harris
In the April 2 election, there were 11 races where no candidates were on the ballot. The write in blank on a ballot is often thought of as the way people can choose who they feel is the best person for a position. However, in these races where no one files as a candidate, it is the only way to fill a seat.
The difficulty associated with the write in candidate lies in interpreting the results. The results can be confusing when there may be many voters voting for the same person but writing the name in different ways. A case in point is this year’s Texas County Health Dept. Board race. Dr. Edward Williamson received one vote. E. Williamson received one vote. Ed Williamson received 31 votes. Eddie Williamson received one vote. Edward Williamson received 191 votes. Edward A. Williamson received 44 votes. The question that has to be answered is: how many different people received votes in this instance?
In this particular situation, it was clear that with 191 write in votes, Edward Williamson received more votes than any other write in. The second candidate, depending on who the names refer to, was much more difficult to determine and could have been one of three people.
Williamson wasn’t the only one in question. In a race where at least 219 names (possibly more if different spellings referred to different people) were entered in just one of those 11 races, the job of certifying and interpreting the results becomes lengthy and very difficult.
The takeaway from this election may be this: read the sample ballot and if you see that no candidates are listed for a race, decide who you will enter as a write in and find out their full name and correct spelling ahead of time. Or, even better, if you are interested in the way your townships, villages, cities, or counties are run, make the commitment and file early so you don’t miss the deadline and your name appears on the ballot, instead of allowing the write in option to become this lengthy, confusing process.
Oh, and by the way, after the names were all sorted out, Edward Williamson and Sally Smith were chosen for the Texas County Health Dept. Board.


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