SHELBY COUNTY, TN (WMC) - While the Shelby County Election Commission is busy counting provisional ballots, candidates in at least two races indicated they won’t concede until they have final numbers.
Counting provisional ballots is a process, and the election commission said the board likely won't meet to determine whether to accept or deny the votes until right before Thanksgiving.
“Our first step in provisional ballots is to inventory them,” said Administrator of Elections Linda Phillips.
There are 1,888 provisional ballots to be counted that were issued when a voter couldn’t be found in the system or didn’t have ID.
Phillips said a computer system upgrade forced some registered voters to be kicked out of the system, so they had to vote provisionally.
“We caught a lot of them and we fixed a lot of them but there were some that slipped through,” Phillips said.
Some candidates believe their races hinge on these ballots.
Democratic State Senate Challenger Gabby Salinas wrote on Facebook she's watching until all provisional ballots have been counted since 1,520 votes separate her from incumbent Republican State Senator Brian Kelsey in District 31.
Kelsey said on Thursday that Salinas has not called him to concede.
“The people have spoken, and I’m honored that they chose me to serve for another four years for them,” Kelsey said. “I congratulate Gabby on a well-run race.”
In the race for Germantown mayor, 127 votes separate incumbent Mike Palazzolo from challenger John Barzizza, and Palazzolo is ahead.
A provisional ballot breakdown released Thursday shows 72 ballots outstanding in that race, but election officials cautioned there could be more because of precinct splits.
Barzizza said Thursday afternoon he won't concede until numbers are final, and he does have a lawyer.
Phillips said at this point, she doesn’t think provisional ballots will alter any results.
“I don’t believe there are enough ballots in any district to change the outcome,” Phillips said.
WMC5 tried to reach out to Gabby Salinas multiple times Thursday for comment and did not hear back.
If the counting board denies a provisional ballot, Phillips said they will send a letter to the voter explaining why.