State Continues Probe of Bibb Elections

6:28 PM, Sep 20, 2013   |    comments
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State officials continue their investigation into the voting problems that surfaced during Tuesday'a Macon-Bibb consolidated government election.

Secretary of State spokesman Jared Thomas said Friday the state office is working with Bibb election officials to address the problems that occured during early voting and on election day.

Those problems primarily consisted of voters being given ballots for the wrong districts.

Thomas said state and local officials hope to have all the problems resolved before the Oct. 15 runoff when voters return to the polls to choose a mayor and four commission seats.

Mayor Robert Reichert met former Mayor C. Jack Ellis in the mayoral runoff.

If all problems are resolved, Thomas said people who voted in the wrong districts during the primary would be able to vote in the right districts in the runoff.

He also said he isn't aware of any voting problems other than those already disclosed.

Responding to questions about when early voting and absentee ballots can be counted, Thomas said state law says election officials can begin counting those ballots at 7 a.m. on election day. But he said it must be done in a quarantined area.

There was confusion in Tuesday's election because those ballots weren't counted until after returns from the 40 precincts had been tallied.

Some candidates, including Reichert and Ellis, thought the absentee ballots and early votes had been included in the precinct counts, which wasn't the case.

Because of that, Ellis conceded the election after precinct tallies showed Reichert with more than 51 percent of the vote. But after the early votes and absentee ballots were counted, Reichert's numbers dropped below 50 percent, and the runoff was on.

Bibb elections supervisor Jeannetta Watson didn't return phone calls Friday.

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