North Georgia recounts uphold local election results

North Georgia recounts uphold local election results

June 1st, 2018 by Tyler Jett in Local Regional News

Voting stickers are ready to be taken by voters at the Chickamauga Civic Center on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, in Chickamauga, Ga. Turnout was steady at the polling place for Georgia's Tuesday primary election.

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

The results of two tight local elections in North Georgia did not change after recounts this week.

In Catoosa County, District 2 Commissioner Bobby Winters requested a review of the votes after losing to challenger Chuck Harris in the May 22 Republican primary by eight votes. But after election officials recalculated the digital and hard-copy ballots Thursday, the vote totals remained the same, Elections and Voter Registration Director Tonya Moore said.

Chuck Harris, a candidate for District 2 commissioner, speaks during a forum hosted by the Catoosa County Republican Party at the Boynton Voting Precinct on April 10.

Chuck Harris, a candidate for District 2 commissioner,...

Photo by C.B. Schmelter

Catoosa County Commissioner Bobby Winters is seen during a Catoosa County Commission meeting on April 4, 2017, in Ringgold, Ga.

Catoosa County Commissioner Bobby Winters is seen during...

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

With no Democrat registering to run, Harris' 458-450 victory will bring him to the commission in January. He was not nervous after he heard Wednesday that Winters requested a recount.

Assuming no miscalculations on the previous vote count, the only shot Winters had was through the provisional ballots. These are votes from people who ran into problems when they showed up at the polling sites on election day — they didn't have a valid ID, for example, or the voter rolls didn't have their proper address up to date.

In all, the county had 12 provisional ballots. To swing the election, those votes would need to be located in District 2. Also, they needed to favor Winters by at least eight votes.

"The numbers weren't there to make a change," Harris saidafter hearing the results of the recount Thursday. "If there was a change, it would be very little. And if it was very little, it could go either way — his way or my way."

Winters, who has been in office since 2002, did not return a call seeking comment Thursday.

This was the second recount in North Georgia in as many days.

On Wednesday morning, Dade County election workers upheld the results of the Republican Primary for the District 2 school board race between incumbent Jennifer Hartline and Larry Williams. Like in Catoosa County, eight votes initially divided the race, with Hartline winning, 1,040-1,032.

Board of Elections Member Tracy Street said they found two extra votes in the race Wednesday: one for Hartline, and one for Williams. This came from the provisional ballots.

"It's a funny scenario," Street said.

Like in Catoosa County, no Democrats registered to run for the District 2 school board seat, giving Hartline no other challengers.

Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 or tjett@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @LetsJett.


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