A handful of "provisional ballots" were being counted in the 10th Senate District on Monday, but they were not expected to be a factor in the close contest between Todd Gardenhire and Greg Vital in the Republican primary. Before the count, election officials said Mr. Gardenhire had a 40-vote lead.
In Bradley County, Mr. Gardenhire picked up one vote and Mr. Vital two to decrease the margin to 39 votes.
Hamilton County provisiional votes will be counted at 10 a.m. on Tuesday. Election Commission Chairman Mike Walden said he was advised there are 10 provisional ballots overall and two in the 10th Senate District..
In Bradley County, the provisional votes were closely watched because Nicholas Lillios was ahead of Melvin "Teddy" Bryson by only a single vote. There was one provisional vote that went to Mr. Lillios giving him the apparent win at 802-800 for the Third District seat.
Meanwhile, Paul Smith, chairman of the Hamilton County Democratic Party, said the provisional ballots should be counted in public.
Saying that "there have already been serious questions raised about Election
Commission procedures in the lead-up to the primary races and now after the
votes are in", Mr. Smith "called
attention to the fact that provisional ballots still to be counted in the Senate 10
GOP primary will be counted 'behind closed doors.'”
He said, "Sources differ on the number of provisional ballots to be counted. The number,
and the party represented, are not the issue, however. What we
are saying is that many elections are decided by very few votes. We want
a transparent process as they are counted, with poll watchers present.
"One vote could change the outcome of the school board race in Bradley
County, and since it was reported that one precinct was partially omitted in
Hamilton, we are deeply concerned about these anomalies is such close
elections in Hamilton County.”
Provisional ballots are offered to people who did not have the now-required
picture ID. According to the Election Commission, those who voted with
provisional ballots had until 5 p.m. today to return with a valid picture ID in order
for their ballots to be counted.