Race isn’t over in Marengo

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 11, 2004

LINDEN-With only seven votes separating Marengo County Commission George Baldwin from a run-off with Calvin Martin for the title of Marengo County Commissioner District 4, Baldwin officially issued a contest of the June 1 election results on Thursday.

Baldwin said he had until 10 a.m. Thursday to decide whether or not to contest the election results. When 10 a.m. came and gone, a letter was in the Marengo County Probate Judge Cindy Neilson’s Office as well as a letter in the office of the Marengo County Democratic Party chairman William Coplin.

“I have officially contested the election,” Baldwin said, “But I don’t want to disclose the grounds of my contest until Friday, when I have a chance to talk to my lawyer.”

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Coplin said he has 10-20 days to schedule a meeting of the Marengo County Democratic Party Executive Committee that will consist of five members to listen to the grounds of Baldwin’s contest. He also said after all the evidence has been provided, the committee will make a ruling as to either allow the contest to stand or not.

“The grounds of Baldwin’s challenge are based on his winning the election if some illegal votes wouldn’t have been cast and if the legal votes would have been allowed to be cast,” Coplin said.

With the extra vote, Martin’s overall lead in the race goes to seven votes and now Baldwin only has two options, he can contest the vote and ask for a recount or accept defeat. Baldwin after learning of not picking up any extra votes to close the margin between Martin and himself said he was undecided at this moment as to what he will do.

He also said he knows that he if wants to contest the final vote tally that he must ask for a recount within 48 hours and only after he has issued an contest.

“I’m currently undecided as too my next step in this election,” Baldwin said, “But, I would like to take this time to thank all of those district four residents that voted for me and those people that helped me during my campaign.”

Neilson said before a recount could take place, Baldwin would have to first file a formal contest on the election results.

She also said he currently has 48 hours to file a contest and then have it accepted by the Democratic Party, and then a recount could take place.

Martin, who is currently the winner of the election must now sit back and wait to see if a contest comes from Baldwin. He said it feels good to know the people of district four were ready for a change.