An anticlimactic recount
by The Anniston Star Editorial Board
Sep 14, 2012 | 1481 views |  0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A small town’s ability to operate a competent election was put to the test Thursday in Piedmont.

There’s good news. Piedmont passed its test.

In fairness to the three mayoral candidates, we were less interested in their roles in this recount than we were in what the recount discovered. Third-place finisher Tony Williams had requested the recount, claiming that voter fraud and problems with voters lists had occurred during the Aug. 28 election.

Williams, it’s important to note, would have needed more than 150 votes to be added to his tally to enter the Oct. 9 runoff. Getting him into the runoff would have assumed a lot of tampering and shenanigans among Piedmont voters.

That fraud didn’t happen.

The recount found two small problems: Candidate Brent Morrison was one vote shy, and candidate Rick Freeman had been given two votes too many; those corrections were made with Thursday’s recount. Thus, nothing changed with the finishing order. Either Freeman or Morrison will become Piedmont’s next mayor on Oct. 9.

Granted, we would have preferred the recount to have found no discrepancies with the original results — not because we agree with how the candidates finished, but because it would send an ironclad signal that in Piedmont, at least, the election results were beyond reproach.

It’s not impossible to envision a scenario where those one or two extra or missing votes would have mattered. In small towns where votes are counted in the hundreds, not thousands or more, it’s not cliché: every vote counts.

Nevertheless, Piedmont officials should feel good that the mayoral tallies weren’t adversely affected and the election was nearly imperfection-free.

Here at Runoff Central, we now turn our attention to Anniston, where Councilman Ben Little, among others, is challenging the results of his city’s elections. As usual with anything involving Little, the situation is both convoluted and expected.

Little and resident Harold Ray requested a recount of council-race votes in Ward 3. (Little lost that election to Seyram Selase.) Mayoral candidate Ralph Bradford requested a recount of all ballots in his race. (Bradford received 1.61 percent of votes.) As of Thursday afternoon, Little had not paid the security required by law for the recounts. However, he is moving forward with his lawsuit over the election.

As with Piedmont, it’s best to let this process play out; in essence, the integrity of our local elections is being questioned. If there is a problem, it must be addressed. But don’t be surprised if the county’s next results are just as anticlimactic as Thursday’s.
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