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Contributed photo from Randall Franks / Current Ringgold City Council member Randall Franks has asked for a recount of Tuesday's election, which he reportedly lost by just three votes.

Elections wrapped up Tuesday night across North Georgia, and one Ringgold City Council candidate is requesting a recount after losing by just three votes.

Veteran council member Randall Franks faced off against incumbent council member Kelly Bomar and former council member Earl Henderson to fill two city council seats in Tuesday's election. Bomar took the lead with 285 votes, and Henderson beat out Franks, 220 to 217, for the second spot.

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Shortly after unofficial results were publicized on Tuesday evening, Franks, 56, took to Facebook to tell his supporters that a recount would be imminent.

"We have had a rousing election with just three votes difference between me and Earl Henderson in his favor. There will be a subsequent recount once the race is officially certified to let us know whether anything might change," Franks said. "Thanks to everyone who came out to vote in the city and all who helped and encouraged me. For now, prayers for a positive resolution is the best we can do."

Catoosa County Elections Director Tonya Moore confirmed that a recount will be held on at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Franks' request. In Georgia, state law says a candidate can request a recount if the margin is less than or equal to 0.5%. That request has to be made within two business days of the results being certified.

Moore said the recount will be done by machine and noted that any other kind of recount, such as a hand recount, would require a court order.

"I don't expect anything to change when we do the recount, but if it does, we will have to recertify since we are certifying the election on Friday," Moore told the Times Free Press by phone on Thursday.

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Certifying election results is typically a formality through which election officials finalize and double-check results after an election. The process has not historically drawn much interest, but as conversations around election integrity continue to be had nationally, the process has drawn more attention.

Moore said certification for Ringgold's election results will happen at 4 p.m. on Friday.

"If something were to change, we'd have to recertify, which means doing more paperwork," she said. "We don't expect to have to do that because we do believe our results are accurate."

Henderson, 62, said he doesn't understand why a recount is necessary. He believes the process was fair and said he trusts the integrity and skill of those charged with making sure votes are counted accurately.

"Are we saying that there are people who can't be trusted in our elections office? Or that the voters and people who count our votes can't trusted? I mean, I don't understand," he said. "I'll say this honestly, if the shoe was on the other foot, I'd just move on with life. This was a fair election. The people voted. Henderson came up with more votes, and that should be the end of it."

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Contributed photo from Earl Henderson / Earl Henderson, who previously served on the Ringgold City Council from 2014 to 2017, was named the winner of Tuesday's election and said he doesn't feel a recount is needed.

As a former council member who served from 2014 to 2017, then lost re-election in 2017 and returned to run again this year, Henderson said he thought Franks should accept the results and try to run again in the future. As for how he might react if the results come back differently after Tuesday's recount, Henderson said he wasn't sure.

"I don't know. I'll be very honest, I don't know," he said. "I want it to be fair. I'm human. I have emotions. I just want it to be fair. At the end of the day the people voted, the votes were counted and it is what it is. The book needs to be closed on this. If he wants to run again, he always can. This election is over though, and Henderson won. Think about it like this: We just had the World Series. The Braves won one of the games 3-2. Did they go back and replay the game? No. At the end of the ninth, they closed the book on that game. It was over. It's the same here. The game is over."

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Franks, an actor, musician and author, was first elected to office in July 2009 to fill the seat of former Vice Mayor Tom Clark. He was re-elected that November and started his first full term in January 2010. He did not return emails or phone messages on Thursday.

Contact Kelcey Caulder at kcaulder@timesfree press.com or 423-757-6327. Follow her on Twitter @kelceycaulder.

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