Another election cycle has passed but one Prestonsburg City Council candidate who withdrew his name still managed to garner more than 400 votes.
There were no allegations of voter fraud in this year’s city election, however, Brent Graden, who had withdrawn his name due to a recent debilitating back injury, was still on the ballot. Graden claimed more than 400 votes in the election, a total which if dispersed, could have shifted the outcome.
It’s no easy fix says Floyd County Clerk Chris Waugh.
According to Waugh, the voting machines and ballots are set in early October so absentee ballots can be sent out and the absentee machine can be used.
“After a certain point, after a candidate withdraws, you can’t change the ballot,” says Waugh.
Waugh says the county clerk can’t just delete someones name from the machines. Voting machines are programmed in Oklahoma and then transported back to Floyd County.
Another issue that people note is how in precincts that have voters who live both inside the city, and without, don’t appear to have any controls for who votes in city races.
Waugh says that the signature register is coded next to an individuals name which tells poll workers whether or not a person lives in the city.
“If they are not coded, then you ask them if they live in the city, if they pay city taxes, or garbage,” says Waugh. “Then they sign an oath of voter card, and we let them vote.”
In highly contested races, such as this year’s Martin mayoral race, candidates will often have poll watchers in place to challenge any votes they may consider potentially fraudulent.
Waugh says that its hard to know in the city races because the right side of the road may be in the city, and the left may not be.
“It’s very difficult to manage city races because of that reason,” he said. “You have to take people at their word.”