CULLEN — A mix-up in Precinct 6 caused a stir when Cullen voters were allowed to vote for chief of police in Springhill, but the numbers still show incumbent chief Will Lynd will remain in office another four years.
The incident occurred Tuesday morning when voters were mistakenly given the wrong ballot in which to cast their vote, Webster Parish Clerk of Court Holli Vining said.
“Apparently there was a misunderstanding with a commissioner, and maybe five or six people voted before they caught it,” Vining said.
In Precinct 6, there are voters who live in Springhill and some who live in Cullen. Some who live in Cullen were given the ballots for Springhill voters instead of the correct ballot for Cullen voters. Vining made it clear this was a misunderstanding on the part of one of the commissioners, not some conspiracy to commit voter fraud.
When a person votes, he or she will go to their polling place and sign a book, she explained. In that book is a lockout code for each voter. That lockout code is given to the commissioner at the machine so the voter will be given the correct ballot.
Vining said the incorrect lockout code was entered into the machine, giving some Cullen voters the incorrect ballot. And there is no way to go back into the machine to fix it. Once the ballot is cast, it’s a done deal.
From approximately 6 until 10 a.m., Lynd said, anybody that voted was allowed to vote for Springhill police chief.
“It was not a big deal,” he said in a separate interview. “Everything was handled professionally and it all turned out the way it was supposed to.”
The Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office reports Lynd received 62.75 percent of the vote, or 1,058 votes. His opponent, former chief Ronnie Coleman received 37.25 percent, or 628 votes.
Had he won by a small percentage, and the number was still not accurate, Lynd could have contested the outcome, calling for a hearing and possibly another election.
“But she got right up there, corrected the problem and was very professional about it,” Lynd said. “It was just an oversight.”
At the end of the day, the number of votes incorrectly calculated did not have an effect on the outcome of the election.
“Ms. Vining handled everything professionally,” he said. “I appreciate her recourse. She was a pleasure to work with in this unintentional mistake.”
Vining said the vote totals would not be official until Friday.