County officials will have to recount last week’s election results in the Calhoun County circuit clerk’s race after a slim margin — 115 votes — gave Republican Eli Henderson the presumed win on election night.
“Because of the margin of votes was so close, under Alabama code there’s a request for an automatic recount,” said Calhoun County Probate Judge Alice Martin. “So we’re going ahead and preparing for an automatic recount.”
Specifically, Alabama law requires a recount for an election decided by less than a half-percent of total votes cast. A slim 0.26 percent of the vote separated the Democrat in the race, Missy Hall, and Henderson for the open circuit clerk’s post. A total of 44,615 votes were cast in the race on Election Day.
Because the circuit clerk is a state office, and not a county position, the state will pay for the recount.
The recount won’t take place until after Thanksgiving. State election results won’t be certified until Nov. 28, at which point a recount must occur within 72 hours, unless the defeated party requests the recount be cancelled. Martin said the county is prepared to hold the recount on Nov. 29.
Hall said Wednesday she had only heard about the recount second-hand, but said she had no plans to submit a waiver to cancel it.
Although Hall lost by 115 votes on election night, she said after provisional ballots were counted Tuesday she picked up 6 votes to close the gap to 109. It’s enough reason to give her hope she might still have a shot at the circuit clerk’s job.
“With 45,000 odd votes, you never know how that’s going to turn out,” she said. “I’m optimistic.”
Henderson, a Calhoun County commissioner, said he had seen two recounts over the last several years, neither of which he said overturned the Election Day results. History, he said, has proven recounts rarely end up changing things.
“With the technology we have nowadays, there’s not much room for error,” Henderson said. “I don’t really think this will make much of a difference.”
Staff writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.