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Columbus County responds to ballot counting delays

Columbus County residents and candidates waiting for results last night got a bit fidgety as the night went on. It was because Columbus was the last county to report its early voting numbers, leaving a few tight races in limbo. Campaign signs still line the streets of Whiteville, a day after the elections. Wednesday, members of the Board of Elections took their time getting to work after an unexpectedly long night counting ballots. "They started at two o'clock yesterday afternoon and trudged along until it got done," said Carla Strickland of the Columbus County Board of Elections. Part of the problem was the voting machine. Some of the paper absentee ballots they received were folded and crumbled, so every time board members fed them into the machine, it spit them back out. For candidates and residents who were up late Tuesday night waiting on Columbus County results, the Board of Elections wants them to know they were counting them openly, and honestly. Another thing that contributed to the late voting count was the large number of absentee votes this election year. The board said it was four times what it has been in the past.

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