Ward 2 citizens, candidates address Board of Elections
Election results in Albany and Dougherty County may be certified but that isn't stopping some Ward 2 citizens from protesting them, saying confusion with a disqualified candidate and discarded votes swayed the results.
"Nobody denies that a mistake was made," says Attorney for Dougherty County Spencer Lee.
Citizens, Ward 2 candidate Melissa Strother and forcibly disqualified candidate Cheryl Calhoun addressed the Board of Elections on Wednesday looking for answers and action.
"I just want a fair election. I want an election with just my name and Ivey Hines' name on the ballot so that people can decide between the two qualified candidates," says Strother.
Citizens and Calhoun say the 259 votes for the former Ward 2 candidate should not have been thrown out and not counted. Calhoun, holding up a voter registration card she received saying she was in Ward 2 and another saying she was in Ward 1, asked the board, "What is the truth?"
Albany Mayoral candidate B.J. Fletcher attended the meeting as well asking the board two questions: How did this happen and will it happen again?
"I also want to know a third question: was it fraud or was it error?" says Fletcher.
In a press release, Fletcher's campaign manager says Albany Mayoral candidate Dorothy Hubbard is addressing the election irregularities as well. Hubbard did not attend the Board of Elections meeting but says in a statement, "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."
Once Strother's petition contesting the Ward 2 election results is processed, a hearing will be scheduled and a judge will decide on which plan of action is best, from leaving the results as they are to having a new election.
Strother says she wants to restore the community's faith in the election process; the board says they want the community's faith -- faith that there will be a fair, equitable and transparent outcome in the matter.
"I believe him but I think that they're so worried about themselves and retribution, and I think that's why they're deferring to the court system because then they can say 'We didn't make this decision.' They don't want this decision on their backs," says Strother.
Certified election results show Ivey Hines as the winner of the City Commission Ward 2 race