Certification Could Affect Close District 2 Race

According to the tally from election night, Republican Wayman Newell defeated incumbent county supervisor Jimmie Smith, a Democrat, by 32 votes.

"Well, I think that the people have spoken. They want to see a change," said Newell. "They want to see something different happen in the county, as far as the dilapidation of houses, sewage, drainage, but the main thing is jobs. People want to see some jobs."

Election commission officials say the count Tuesday did include all of the absentee ballots that were cast in that race. But the final numbers are not completed. There are still affidavit ballots to be checked.

According to election officials, affidavit ballots are those cast by people whose name , for various reasons, did not appear on the roster at a polling site. In those cases, people may vote. Then their address and registration information must be reviewed manually by election commissioners.

For the next few days election officials say these are the ballots that they will be reviewing.

"We have up until ten days," said election commission chairman, Ann Watts. "We certainly don't want it to take up to ten days. So, we'll just do it as expeditiously as possible."

As for how many affidavit ballots there are to count for the District 2 race, election officials say at this time they do not know. Each box remains sealed once it leaves the polling place until it is opened for review.

Smith spoke with Newscenter 11 but said he does not want to comment yet. However, we were able to speak with a member of the local Democratic Party.

"I have spoken with Mr. Smith personally and with the party, and Mr. Smith has expressed that as always he believes that the process is fair and that he wants to just allow the votes to be counted," said Charles Young, Jr., of the
Lauderdale County Democratic Executive Committee. "And once the results have been certified, he'll be willing to make a comment regarding the race at that point."

Once the election commission certifies the votes, both Newell and Smith will have 21 days to make a written request to the commission to review all of the ballots cast in their election.

After doing this, if they desire, either candidate can then formally challenge the election results.

Election commission officials say they hope to have all of the votes certified by Friday.


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