The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

June 5, 2014

D-3 commissioner race could be affected by provisional ballots

3-vote cushion keeping race from runoff; Black tops unofficial results

ATHENS — The Republican ticket for District 3 county commissioner remains undetermined due to provisional ballots, Limestone County Probate Judge Charles Woodroof said.

In the three-candidate race, Clements High School teacher Jason Black emerged as the unofficial winner after Tuesday night’s primary with 991 votes, or 50.2 percent. He needed 988 votes to avoid a runoff, according to Woodroof.

Adam Hutchins received 708 votes, or 35.9 percent, and Hollis Hogan had 275. Hogan has been eliminated from the race but Hutchins could move into a runoff with Black on July 15.

A provisional ballot is used to record a vote when there is uncertainty at a voting site about eligibility. For example, a voter may have moved to a residence that differs from the address on record with the registrar’s office.

“There were 63 provisional ballots countywide but I’m not sure how many had District 3 races on them because we can’t see the ballots yet,” Woodroof said. “There’s an affidavit that goes with each provisional ballot. These ballots were submitted to the Board of Registrars Wednesday. By noon (June 10), they have to certify these ballots as votes that can be counted toward the official total.”

He said the canvassing board would count the certified provisional ballots, certifying the June 3 results.

“What will happen is either Mr. Black maintains his sufficient majority or the official results show he did not obtain the majority,” Woodroof said. “Then the top two vote-getters will be in a runoff.”

Misreading error

On Thursday morning, Woodroof said an issue with a memory stick led to an incorrect reading from a voting machine during Tuesday night’s primary. He said the misreading did not change Black’s majority cushion.

“With the new unofficial total, he has to have 1,045 votes to maintain the majority, and he has 1,048,” he said.

Woodroof said he notified local leaders for the Republican and Democratic parties about the new totals for the unofficial results from Tuesday’s primary election. The results will be certified Tuesday, June 10.

The winner of the Republican primary advances to face James “Curtis” Turner, who is unopposed on the Democratic ticket.


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