Mission mayoral voting not quite over: validity of 34 provisional ballots to be determined Monday

Tuesday’s voting presumably settled the question of who will be the mayor of Mission for the next four years, but the counting is not quite done. Thirty-four provisional ballots were cast in the election, according to the Johnson County election office, and their fate has not been decided. The 34 provision votes are significant because only 19 votes separate the two candidates in the final voting.

Steve Schowengerdt Election winner in unofficial results
Steve Schowengerdt
Election winner in unofficial results

Steve Schowengerdt was the winner over Dave Shepard after ballots were counted Tuesday night. But those totals are “unofficial” final results that count all advance voting and day of election machine voting. The final count was 862-843.

What was not counted are provisional ballots that are cast and held until their validity can be determined by the election board of canvass, which meets Monday. A voter is allowed to cast a provisional ballot when some irregularity requires the board to decide if that vote should be counted under the specific circumstance. Those votes are not opened and counted until their status is verified.

Sometimes a voter’s name will not appear in the poll book because they have moved into a precinct or had a name change. They may have requested a mail ballot and never returned it and then appeared in person at the polling place. Those are just a few of the many scenarios where a provisional ballot is cast and held for the canvass, according to the election office.

With a 19-vote difference and 34 provisional ballots yet to be counted, it is mathematically possible for the election to be reversed. However, most of the provisional ballots would have to be allowed and a very high margin would have to be cast for Shepard. Both the advance vote and Tuesday vote were nearly evenly split.

Official final results will be know Monday.