That’s the opinion of three men who have filed for recounts of the city’s Aug. 28 elections. Two of the men, Councilman Ben Little and Ralph Bradford, were candidates on that ballot. The third, Harold Ray, is an Anniston resident,
Little, in office since 2000, lost his re-election bid in Ward 3 to challenger Seyram Selase. Bradford, a mayoral candidate, received 80 votes — less than 2 percent of the votes cast.
To date, their legal requests for a recount are based on allegations, not proven instances of fraud and improprieties. Time will tell if the allegations are proven true.
Let us be clear: Elections must be free of taint and defects. Given the importance Annistonians placed on this year’s vote, the city desperately needs for this situation to be handled quickly and professionally — and then move on as it prepares for November’s leadership overhaul under Mayor-elect Vaughn Stewart.
The city has a long list of other things on which it needs to concentrate. (The same can be said for Piedmont, where mayoral candidate Tony Williams, who finished third, has requested a recount, as well.)
Yet, we’re not surprised that this election — potentially Anniston’s most important in the last two decades — continues to live on in this manner. Likewise, we’re not surprised, either, that Councilman Little is one of the men claiming that improprieties took place on Election Day.
Little owns an encyclopedic collection of accusations about the city government, the Calhoun County court system and the Anniston Police Department. The Grand Inquisition into alleged corruption in Anniston — an inquiry he led — turned up nothing; it was an expensive and abject failure. His constant claims of racism within APD have been based on feeble hearsay, not evidence.
That’s why we’re not surprised to hear of the councilman’s objections.
That said, Little, Bradford and Ray are well within their legal rights to seek a recount. Tainted elections are a scourge that must be rooted out. If corrections are needed, then Anniston should move with haste to see that things are made right. Elections that carry unanswered questions undermine the spirit of such a vital republican enterprise.
Though there may be high confidence in the validity of the city’s Aug. 28 results — confidence we share — Anniston should respect these recount requests and then proceed. It’s time to move this city forward.