By Liz Beavers
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - The canvass is complete, the numbers have changed, but the results are the same - Forrest “Buddy” Ellifritz will be the next sheriff of Mineral County.
County officials held the official canvass of the primary election ballots on Monday, which included counting the large number of absentee ballots which had been received since the June 9 primary election.
As long as the ballots are postmarked no later than election day, however, they can be counted.
The canvass began at 9 a.m. Monday and the process lasted most of the day due to the number of absentee and provisional ballots which had to be examined and determined for their eligibility.
In addition, the canvass consists of two precincts being picked at random and hand-counted to see if the numbers match up with what was counted election night.
The officials also had to deal with a mistake in tabulating that was made on election night and which esulted in absentee ballots being counted twice.
County clerk Lauren Ellifritz discovered the mistake on Thursday after the election and reported it to the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office.
At that time, the corrected numbers brought the two top vote-getters in the sheriff’s race to withiin 119 votes of each other and the race could conceivably have gone to either candidate.
When the canvass was completed, however, the lead grew slightly to 139 votes, and Ellifritz remained on top.
Since there is no candidate on the Democrat ticket, Ellifritz will be unopposed in the November general election.
The final tallies were as follows: Forrest “Buddy” Ellifritz, 1,505; Keith Anderson, 1,369; Rod Ryan, 621; and Jon Baniak, 519.
The results of the other local contest race also remained the same, with Donald Ashby finishing with 2,620 votes to William “Butch” Wahl’s 2,306 to fill the District 1 seat on the board of education.
A total of 6,114 ballots were cast in the election - 4,137 by Republicans and 1,878 by Democrats.