The Geary County Commission will meet as the Board of Canvassers Friday morning.

The commissioners discussed the matter with County Clerk Rebecca Nordyke at a Monday meeting.

Commissioner Brad Scholz said he would be unable to be present for the meeting. Commissioners discussed having Sheriff Dan Jackson take his place, or failing that Register of Deeds Diane Briestensky-Leonard.

Canvassing, or the confirmation of ballots cast in the election, takes place after every election.

During this time, provisional ballots will be counted.

“I hesitate to say this because typically we know what happens with provisional ballots, but as you know, this election’s been anything but typical,” Nordyke said. “Our past history is we count somewhere between half and three quarters of (the provisional ballots.)”

Provisional ballots are granted to people who come in to vote on election day but for whatever reason are unable to vote that day.

According to Nordyke, several people came in to cast their ballots who were not registered to vote in Geary County on election day.

The clerk’s office plans to recommend votes cast by people who were not registered to vote in time to take part in the general election not be considered valid.

“I suspect not counting will be a little higher this time, because we had so many people that came into the office on election day and said ‘I’m not registered to vote, where can I vote?’” she said. “We sent them to their proper polling place, but we won’t recommend that those be counted because they clearly were not registered prior to election day.”

Oct. 13 was the last day people could register to vote in Geary County if they wished to take part in the general election here.

According to Nordyke, an audit had been performed earlier Monday morning that matched “perfectly" with the unofficial results from election night.

Official results will be available after canvassing, once final numbers are in.

Both the race for Commissioner Charles Stimatze’s seat and the race for Scholz’s seat are close. As of right now, Stimatze trails behind his opponent Alex Tyson and Scholz is behind his opponent Trish Giordano, but there’s a chance this could change.

More will be known after the canvas.

Emergency Manager Garry Berges also came in for a brief conversation with the commissioners about the Emergency Operations Center, which is part of Geary County’s response to COVID-19. He talked about phase two of the project, which includes a dispatch area and two conference areas.

It is expected to be paid for by COVID-19 grant funds. Berges said he is still working on an application for the grant.

“We have until the end of the year to submit all the paperwork on the grant for phase two,” he said.

If Geary County receives the grant, it will commence work on the project.

Berges also talked about a fire that took place in the county over the weekend.

Sunday, the Geary County Rural Fire Department with help from Alta Vista Rural Fire dealt with a grass fire in the southeastern part of Geary County. No one was injured and the residence was not threatened, but the fire consumed about eight acres of land before firefighters put a stop to it.

Farmers helped slow the fire by moving hay bales out of the way of the flames, according to Berges.

Berges said the fire was caused by someone who chose to burn garbage when the wind was gusting around 30 miles per hour.

He encouraged residents to abstain from burning on days when there are high winds.

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