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Maxwell edges out incumbent

Challenger D.W. Maxwell claimed a three-vote victory over WardFive Alderman Tom Smith Wednesday in a recount of Tuesday’s primaryfor the Democratic party’s nomination.

Maxwell garnered 166 votes to Smith’s 163 during the recount bythe city’s Democratic Executive Committee. Maxwell will now faceRepublican Don Godbold in the June 7 general election.

“Words cannot express the joy and excitement of meeting most ofthe voters of Ward Five during this campaign,” Maxwell said. “Iwant to thank all the citizens who came out to vote. I gratefullyappreciate the confidence of all those who voted for me.”

Maxwell also expressed appreciation to those who worked in hiscampaign and asked for continued support in the generalelection.

Smith requested the recount after Tuesday’s unofficial resultsshowed Maxwell ahead by five votes, 167-162. The incumbent did notattend the Wednesday afternoon recount but accepted the resultswhen contacted later.

“Whatever the results are, as long as it was run fair, that’sall I ask,” Smith said.

Five affidavit ballots, cast by voters whose names did notappear on the Ward Five poll book Tuesday, were examined andultimately rejected by the party executive committee.

The ballots were checked against the poll book for the ward anda poll book of all registered voters in the city. Two of theaffidavit ballots were cast by people who were registered in WardFour, and three were cast by people who were not registered to votein the city.

“We can’t count what we don’t have,” said committee memberWillie “Doc” Harrison about voters not registered in the city.

Among other ballot irregularities, one ballot was not marked foreither Maxwell or Smith in the only contested race in the ward.

Another ballot was rejected because it had a long check markextending through the boxes for both candidates, and it was unclearwhat the voter’s intention was. Another ballot simply had “Don,”presumably for the Republican Godbold, written in, but was notmarked for any candidate.

Committee member Angeline Roberson said the ballot discrepanciesshow the need for clear instructions on how to mark a ballot andthat assistance from poll workers is available if needed.

“People need to know they can ask for help,” Roberson said.

Maxwell said the affidavit ballots would not have changed theoutcome of the race, since three of the ballots were from peoplenot registered in the city. And had Smith received the other twovotes, Maxwell would still have won by one.

Maxwell supported the recount.

“I think the recount was proper,” he said. “Mr. Smith deservedthe recount.”

Following the Ward Five review, the committee certified theresults in all of Tuesday’s contests. There were no changes in theoutcomes of the races.