Strother files petition against Ward II results
Former Albany City Commissioner for Ward II Dorothy Hubbard has issued a statement about the election results for Ward II:
The ward 2 race and subsequent unrest regarding the results is unfortunate.
This is a unique situation to be resolved through the legal process. I imagine in the history of elections similar situations have occurred. The election was certified at 1:00pm today. As former commissioner of Ward 2, I wish only for a swift and just resolution. Our constituents of Ward II have been without representation since August 30th. I have built relationships with the citizens in this, the most diverse ward in Albany. It is a microcosm of the city with all kinds of people â" young/old, retired, international, black, white, male/female, all economic statuses and both sides of the river.
We have to let the legal process take its course for the benefit of the entire city. Let us all be in agreement on that.
Albany City Commission Ward 2 candidate Melissa Strother is officially filing a petition contesting the results of November's election. She sites discrepancies with keeping disqualified candidate Cheryl Calhoun on the ballot.
"This really has nothing to do with myself, Ivey (Hines) or Ms. Calhoun; it has to do with a mistake that was made back in august that has just dominoed this entire election," says Strother.
In the seven-page report, Strother says by not removing Calhoun's name from the electronic ballot and not putting prominently displayed signage about the disqualification, it played a role in Calhoun receiving 259 votes â" or 19.03 percent of the vote -- during the election.
Earlier, the Voter Registration and Elections Department said it would have been against the law to remove Calhoun's name in the middle of the election and that they did post signs at every precinct.
"In at least one precinct, no signage was posted at all," says Strother in her petition. "In at least one other precinct, an 8.5-inch-by-11-inch notice was posted for voters to see as they exited the precinct. No signs were posted at polling stations."
Strother says these issues stem from another issue listed on her petition: An error in placing Calhoun in the Ward 2 race instead of the Ward 1 race Calhoun originally planned to enter.
"I went to qualify and they told me I couldn't do it because I was in Ward 2, so my rights were stolen from me. I deserve a chance to run even if I lose. I deserve a chance," says Calhoun.
Calhoun says she is actually surprised at how many votes she received, but she says for those 259 votes to simply be tossed out and not counted is why she supports Strother's petition.
"Everyone have a chance for their vote to be heard and everybody deserves that chance. It takes a lot of effort to get out and go to the polls," says Strother.
Overall Strother is asking that the elections be contested on the following grounds:
-Misconduct, fraud, or irregularity by any primary or election official(s) sufficient to change or place in doubt the results
-The receiving of illegal votes or the rejection of legal votes sufficient to change or place in doubt the result of the election
-Any error in counting the votes or declaring the result of the primary or election, if such error would change the result
-For any other cause that shows that another was the person legally nominated, elected, or eligible to compete in the election
Strother says she's asking for a runoff in December with the other runoffs; she says it will be more cost efficient to conduct the Ward 2 runoff with the other city runoff races.
She says she is also asking that mistakes like this aren't repeated.
"That's why I'm fighting it, it's because I don't want this to ever happen again to anyone else," says Strother.