Meridian Democratic mayoral candidate Percy Bland, who trailed Republican Cheri Barry in the certified results, Monday began reviewing the ballots cast in the June 2 election.
Barry won the race by about 300 votes and had a 4-percent winning margin. Bland has not yet conceded the race. The review is the last step before a possible challenge of the results in court.
Bland was accompanied by his attorney as the review took place at city hall.
He said he's doing exactly what he told his supporters and this community he was going to do, starting the process of reviewing, and possibly challenging the election. Bland said he owes it to the nearly 4,600 people who voted for him.
'So I'm fighting for those people and I'm fighting for myself," said Bland. "And I want to make sure everything was done properly."
Bland says the review process is over as far reviewing paper ballots. He said he reviewed all 16 precinct boxes, which included the absentee and affidavit ballots. Bland said he was looking for consistency with the actual numbers and absentee and affidavit ballots.
Bland led all the way up until the last box came in Tuesday, June 2. That Poplar Springs precinct box put Barry ahead by 114 votes. And once absentee and affidavits ballots were counted, that lead increased to almost 300 votes.
Newscenter 11 asked Bland if he is conceding the race.
"I don't know if the word is 'concede,'" B;and said. "I think that the bottom line is we are doing exactly what I said I was going to do Tuesday and later on when everything is properly completed, you know, we will make a statement in regards to those things."
So far Bland says he has not found anything that would reverse the decision or change the election. He also says he requested copies of the poll books to review. But Bland emphasizes it's not over yet, but declined to say what he might do in coming days.
Barry had two representatives at city hall during the review. She told Newscenter 11 that she doesn't want to make any comment about a potential challenge.
Barry said she's in the process of building her transitional team and looks forward to serving Meridian residents and the needs of the community.
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