A number of variables led to Tuesday night's delay in totaling Macon-Bibb County election results.
Final tallies were not available until about 11 p.m., about four hours after the 7 p.m. deadline at 33 voting sites.
"We were busy across most of the precincts," said Tom Gillon, a Macon-Bibb County elections officer. "We had two or three precincts that were a little slower getting in."
At least one of those precincts had a new manager that was making sure everything was in order, he said.
With just one race on the ballot in both the Democratic and Republican presidential preference primaries, results were expected much sooner.
"We were hoping to close down the store a bit earlier," Gillon said. "There were far more variables that we would like."
There wasn't an unusual number of absentee ballots, he said. Those mailed-in votes are manually opened, unfolded and scanned.
Gillon was not aware of any issues with those Tuesday night.
In Houston County, the bulk of returns came in by 9:30 p.m., elections technician Andy Holland said.
Predicting when results will be ready is difficult in each election due to varying turnout and the skill of poll workers.
"They all are doing the same thing, but some do it a little differently," Holland said.
Houston's last precinct came in just before 10 p.m., and they had final tallies shortly after 10 p.m., he said.
Each manager has his or her own method, and some are more hands-on while others delegate more tasks.
"Our biggest concern is that it's done right," Holland said.
With Macon-Bibb County's election coming up May 24, the board of elections will likely examine how they staff the precincts, Gillon said.
"Those more inexperienced managers might need some experienced people to be there with them," he said.
Elections supervisor Jeanetta Watson said this week that there would be no down time after Super Tuesday.
"We're running straight out of this election to the next one," she said.
With all Macon-Bibb County offices up for grabs, Watson expects a bumper crop of candidates in the nonpartisan election May 24.
The same day, candidates in partisan primaries, such as sheriff, the state Legislature and district attorney, will also be on the ballot.
"The ballot may be more than one page with two or three contenders in each seat," she said.
A runoff is scheduled for July 26, if necessary, in both the partisan and nonpartisan elections. The general election is Nov. 8.
If a runoff is needed in those contests, it will be Dec. 6 for most offices and Jan. 10 for U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
"We don't have a break until next year," Watson said.
To contact writer Liz Fabian, calll 744-4303 and follow her on Twitter@liz_lines.