Tight Race in Newton County

With candidates Nancy Kidd, a Democrat, and Geraldine Seals, a Republican, looking on, Newton County election commissioners continued close examination of 62 absentee ballots from District 4.

The ballots in question were not previously counted due to an error found on the ballot by a voter four days before the election. According to election officials, on some of the ballots, the coroner's race was printed twice. On others, it was missing.

After discovering the mistake, the circuit clerk's office printed corrected ballots, but there was not enough time, officials say, to have the absentee voters who already voted, cast their ballots again.

Therefore, the election commission decided to hold the incorrect absentee ballots, to be hand counted the Wednesday after the election. That was Nov. 5.

However, election officials say candidate Nancy Kidd expressed concerns about ballots and asked that the absentee ballots in question should not be counted. The commission then asked for the opinion of the attorney general's office, but Kidd told Newscenter 11 Monday that she never asked that the 62 ballots be thrown out.

The attorney general's office issued a written opinion to the board stating that there wasn't sufficient reason to not count the absentee ballots.

After the absentee ballots in question were counted on Nov. 10, Seal was leading Kidd by eight votes. The election commission then moved on to examine affidavit ballots. Those are used when there is a question about whether someone is voting at the right precinct. Final results were not available at news time.

The election commission will recount all of the votes on Wednesday. The courthouse is closed Nov. 11 due to the Veterans Day holiday.