City Clerk Alan Atkinson announced at the end of the City Council budget meeting Thursday afternoon that the three people had filed the requests that day. It’s something he’s never seen in his 20 years working for the city, he said.
“What I wanted to do was engage an attorney that has municipal experience with election law,” Atkinson told the three council members who attended the meeting.
Councilman Jay Jenkins and Marcus Dunn agreed with the request to hire an attorney.
Councilman Ben Little, who lost his Ward 3 seat to Seyram Selase by a vote of 308 to 517, and resident Harold Ray requested recounts of the votes cast at ward polling places.
Ralph Bradford, a mayoral candidate who received 1.61 percent of the votes — numerically, that’s 80 — in the election, requested a recount of all votes cast in the election.
Little’s and Ray’s written requests, in which the language is virtually identical, note malfunctioning voting machines at the South Highland Community Center and the City Meeting Center, and the presence of city employees at the door of one of the polling places. Their requests also list alleged issues at the South Highland Community Center, including people being rushed to vote, a campaign worker holding ballots in the polling place and people going in to vote more than once, among other things.
Bradford’s filing stated he was making the request “due to problems that have and can occur on these e-voting machines.”
Bradford had earlier filed a notice with the city that he planned to contest the election results. That notice listed many of the same issues in Little’s and Ray’s requests.
State law says any person “with standing to contest the election under Sections 17-16-40 and 17-16-47 may petition the canvassing authority for a recount of any or all precinct returns.”
Anyone requesting a recount is responsible for paying for its cost, including providing security, such as a cashier’s check. The amount of security is determined by the canvassing authority, in this case the city of Anniston, based on an estimate of what the recount will cost.
Thursday at noon was the deadline to file the request.
Atkinson is currently unsure how much a recount will cost or whether it can be done by machine or must be done by hand.
If the recount were to change the election results, the city would have to pay the costs, Atkinson said.
The deadline to contest the results of the election must be filed by Monday at noon, Atkinson said.