Election administrators worked past 3 a.m. Wednesday, and when all was said and done, 86,196 ballots had been counted in Bell County.

According to the preliminary election results from early voting and Election Day, 57 percent of Bell County voters cast ballots for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and 42 percent for the Democratic incumbent Barack Obama.

The 58 percent turnout among registered voters in Bell County will rank among the county’s highest, with the total number of ballots trumped only by the record 2008 presidential election, which saw 90,781 voters.

Presidential elections generally bring high voter turnout, Bell County Clerk Shelley Coston said.

In Coryell County, 16,798 ballots were counted — 48 percent of registered voters — and in Lampasas County 7,250 — 55 percent of registered voters — made it to the polls.

Statewide, 7,965,384 ballots had been reported by Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade. In 2008, a total of 8,077,795 residents voted in the general election in Texas.

Tuesday’s statewide turnout represented 58 percent of registered voters, just 1 percentage point below 2008.

Election administrators will not have all the ballots collected until early next week, as they continue to receive overseas mail-in ballots, Coston said.

The official election results will be presented to the Bell County Commissioners Court at its Nov. 19 meeting.

Orchestrating the election was not without its challenges to the almost 400 volunteers working the 49 precincts in 47 locations in Bell County, Coston said.

“You prepare and you prepare, and it’s all over in one day,” Coston said.

“There are always things that require attention but I would say overall, ‘Mission Accomplished.’”

At 8 p.m. Tuesday, a line of voters was still visible outside Killeen Fire Station No. 5, the Bell County Precinct 408 polling site.

Coston said as long as the voters were standing in line at 7 p.m., they were allowed to vote, “even if it would have taken until midnight to get through the line.”

The polling location with the highest voter turnout in Bell County was precinct 317, at the First Church of the Nazarene in Temple, which counted in 1,224 ballots on Election Day.

The last Bell County precinct ballot box was turned in at 10 p.m.

Contact Brandon Janes at bjanes@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7552

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