Marengo recount adds votes to three candidates

Published 9:03 pm Friday, June 18, 2010

The recount for the runoff election for the Republican nominee for governor has been completed, and Dr. Robert Bentley will take part in the runoff with Robert Byrne on July 13.

Tim James, who requested the recount, finished 257 total votes behind Bentley in 66 of Alabama’s 67 counties, with 195 votes available in the last county to report, Greene County.

In Marengo County, James each received two additional votes in the recount from the June 1 primary election tally, totaling 116 votes, while Bentley gained one additional vote for a total of 97 votes. Bradley Byrne garnered 66 votes in Marengo County in the primary, which was unchanged after the recount, and Roy Moore gained a vote after the recount, bringing his county total up to 98.

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“This was an unprecedented situation. This is the first time that we have ever had a recount in a primary election,” said Marengo County Probate Judge Cindy Neilson. “First, we had to have a request from the state Republican Party or the county Republican Party for the recount. Once we got that, we had to have the cost, which was done by the James campaign; they paid for the recount.

“I did not get the request until Tuesday, and I immediately called in some people who I had put on notice — four inspectors who are well trained and very familiar with the voting process — who came in and worked the recount.”

The workers went through the 26 boxes — 25 precincts and one for absentee votes — and opened the voted ballots and separated the Republican ballots from the others.

“We had a printout that showed how many Republican ballots were cast in each box,” Neilson said. “The workers each took a box and went through them and separated them out.

“The data packs were received on Tuesday from ES&S (Election Systems and Software), the printer from Birmingham. We tested the machines, and the Republican Party had someone come down and watch the process.

“Everything went smoothly,” she said. “We had people who knew what they were doing; they had worked two recounts before this.

Neilson said the recount process puts stress on the election process, as the runoff election ballots have to be printed up in time for the July 13 election.

For Marengo County, that runoff election includes the Republican governor’s race, the U.S. Representative 7th Congressional District Democratic Party race between Terri Sewell and Shelia Smoot, the county sheriff’s Democratic Party race between Richard E. “Ben” Bates and Randy Sanders and the Marengo County Commission District 5 race between Michael Thompson and Jerry Loftin.