Seal declared winner in Newton County race
By By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
Nov. 14, 2003
Although the results have not been certified, a final count has been completed in the Newton County tax assessor/collector's race.
L.D. Rigdon, chairman of the Newton County Election Commission, confirmed Republican candidate Geraldine Seal as the winner of Thursday's recount, which was conducted by election commissioners.
Seal defeated the Democratic candidate, Nancy Darlene Kidd, by eight votes, 3,813 to 3,805, based on the recount.
Kidd said she has not decided if she would contest the election.
Seal agreed that there were a lot of irregularities in what she called a difficult election.
Rigdon, who has served on the election commission for 13 years, said he had not received feedback from either candidate after the recount.
A long wait
Thursday's figures are the latest in a series of unofficial totals that have been determined since last week's general election.
The final tally on election night had Kidd with 3,782 votes to Seal's 3,766 votes.
More than 60 absentee ballots were then added to those totals on Monday. Rigdon said the ballots had been held by the election commission because of printed mistakes discovered on the ballots on Oct. 30, concerning the coroner's race.
The commissioners were waiting for an opinion, which they received Sunday, from the state attorney general's office as to whether or not those ballots should be counted.
After the absentee ballots were added to the total count, Seal was ahead of Kidd 3,814 votes to 3,803.
Rigdon said it was then brought to the commissioners' attention that 11 affidavit ballots, cast by people who were not on the poll-books, were put into ballot boxes by poll workers instead of being placed in an envelope so that the voters' eligibility could be verified. That took 11 votes away from Seal and had the candidates tied with 3,803 votes each.
Rigdon said it was his hope that the commission could call a new election for the tax assessor/collector race because it was so close. But the commission does not have that authority.
The commission then followed the advice from the offices of the secretary of state and attorney general and counted all of the votes again. They are expected to certify the votes today.