Election totals get final OK

Published 5:00 am Thursday, June 7, 2001

Fifteen improperly-handled mailed-in absentee ballots werecounted among Tuesday general election vote totals that werecertified Wednesday by the Brookhaven Election Commission.

While certifying totals, election commissioners found 12mailed-in absentee ballots from Ward 6 that were counted Tuesdaynight and should not have been. The absentee ballots either werenot witnessed by someone other than the voter, signatures were notnotarized, or the ballot lacked or did not have the absentee voterapplication separate from the ballot.

Commissioners also followed up on 18 mailed-in Ward 2 absenteeballots that had been opened, but not counted, before they werechallenged by a poll watcher Tuesday night. The watcher noticednecessary signatures missing from ballot envelopes, said ElectionCommissioner Bonita Bullock.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Three of Ward 2’s 18 were determined to be improper.

“Fifteen of them were fine, but 18 had been opened before theystopped,” Bullock said.

However, with no way of knowing which of the opened absenteeballots were improper, all 18 were in limbo until Bullock couldcontact the Secretary of State’s Office Wednesday afternoon forclarification.

“You can count them. They can’t be thrown out,” Bullock saidafter speaking with a state election official.

Bullock attributed the absentee ballot problems to poll workeroversight, and she downplayed ballot significance in determiningresults.

“It won’t be enough to change the outcome, on either side,”Bullock said.

The improper absentee ballots in Ward 6 were included in totalsreported Tuesday night.

Of the 18 in Ward 2, incumbent Bill Godbold picked up 12 votesto raise his ward total to 178. Independent candidate Percy Raulsand Republican John Roberts each received three votes more,boosting the total for Rauls to 33 and 137 for Roberts.

Election commissioners also reviewed affidavit ballotsWednesday. One affidavit ballot was accepted in Ward 4 and addedone vote to both Roberts’ and Republican Alderman candidate BobMassengill’s totals. With the vote, Massengill finished with 557votes to Democratic opponent Jerry Case’s 225.

Tuesday’s general election was certified shortly before 4 p.m.Wednesday. In the mayor’s race, the certified totals were 1,316 forGodbold, 118 for Rauls and 1,152 for Roberts.

Other ward race totals were unchanged from Tuesday.

Aside from having to move for campaign workers back to therequired distance from polling place, Bullock said Tuesday’selection went smoothly and ran fine.

“I feel like we had a very fair election. The poll workersworked hard and did their best,” Bullock said. “We look forward tothe next one.”