Controversy in Greensboro: Absentees give Washington lead, Vanessa Hill makes run-off

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 25, 2004

GREENSBORO – For Vanessa Hill, something just didn’t seem right. For J.B. Washington, everything added up just right.

In another Greensboro election fraught with controversy, Washington led a field of three candidates with 49.4 percent of the vote after Tuesday’s only municipal election in Greensboro.

Washington received 643 votes, while Hill received 603. Melvin Lightning finished a distant third with 55 votes.

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“If it weren’t for the voter fraud, I think I would have won this without a run-off,” Hill said after the final votes were tallied Tuesday.

Those final votes – the absentee ballots – pushed Washington ahead in the race. Of the 254 absentee ballots counted, Washington received 216 of them. Hill received 37 votes from the final box, and Lightning got one vote from the box.

“I kind of expected the possibility of a run-off,” Washington said.

Though he didn’t talk in-depth about the absentee controversy, Washington did say he heard a few complaints. At the same time, he said there was nothing out of the ordinary.

Hill, on the other hand, said she worked the streets of Greensboro throughout the campaing and was appalled to see some of the problems with registered voters and invisible addresses.

In her trek through the city, Hill said she took the voters’ list and often didn’t find an address to match the name.

“I found a lot of invalid addresses out there,” Hill said.

As for challenged ballots, Hill said she was able to dispute some of them, though not all.

“This just pushes me to get out there and campaign harder the next time,” she said.

Washington said he would do the same, vowing to work hard to win the run-off election, slated for Sept. 14.