OREM — Despite providing some drama, the addition of provisional ballots to the vote tally did not change the outcome of any Utah County primary-election race.

Provisional ballots are those cast by voters who claim to be registered in a specific district but do not appear on election-day voter rolls.

Election supervisors are allowed to take those votes but they aren't counted until the county recorder can verify the voter is indeed registered in the county and did not vote anywhere else.

As a result, a handful of candidates in Utah Valley cities had to wait an additional week after the Oct. 4 primary while provisional ballots were verified to see if they advanced to the Nov. 8 general election.

In Saratoga Springs, incumbent mayor Timothy Parker edged challenger Lonny Stanford by just four votes —174 to 170 — in the unofficial primary results for the the second spot in the general election.

But the city received 10 provisional ballots that could have changed the makeup of the mayoral race if they came back in favor of Stanford.

Although Stanford picked up two votes when the ballots were certified and counted, Parker held on for the win.

"Honestly, it wasn't (too tense)," Parker said. "I know all of the candidates quite well, and I'm not a terribly competitive person, so I wasn't taking it as a personal battle."

But when he saw how thin the final margin was, Parker said it was a little scary.

"I made it through by a whisker," he said, "and it's made me want to get out there and campaign more."

Unofficial primary results also showed Genola Councilman Quentin L. Francom being eliminated, finishing in fifth place by just four votes.

Genola officials originally reported they received up to eight provisional ballots, but in fact only had two. Both were declared valid, but had no impact on the primary's outcome.

Provisional ballots also made for a close race in Salem, where Richard C. Nelson edged Boyd Lucas Hair by just one vote — 69-68 — in the unofficial results. Eleven provisional ballots were counted, and Nelson received four votes to Hair's one to make the win official.

In all, Utah County cities reported 345 provisional ballots in the primary election, and 274 — approximately 79 percent — were certified and counted.

The city with the largest number of provisional ballots was Spanish Fork, which reported 54. However, races were won by relatively large margins, and the additional ballots did not sway the outcome.

Provo was second with 46 provisional ballots, while Highland had 44.


E-mail: jtwitchell@desnews.com