District 6 race still in doubt

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It’ll be at least a week before District 6 voters have a new commissioner, if it’s even that soon.

With Republican candidate Karen Berry leading Democrat Oren Fannin by just three votes, the race was too close to call Tuesday night.

Now, 32 provisional ballots in the district could swing the vote in one candidate’s favor, but Probate Judge Bill Stone said even that’s not a guarantee.

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“There is a state law, where if any race is a half of one percent margin, we have an automatic recount,” Stone said. “I can’t make any announcements until a week from today, but we can guess it most likely will go to be a recount.”

Stone said this is the first time he can recall a county race coming this close.

“I don’t think I’ve ever experienced an election where we had such few votes difference between candidates,” Stone said. “We’ve had two recounts in Pike County since the new recount law came into effect, but they were both amendments.”

Stone said there is no way to know the number, if any, of provisional ballots that will be counted in the district before Wednesday, Nov. 12.

While eventually District 6 will have a commissioner, it may not be in time for their first meeting, also on Nov. 12.

County Administrator Harry Sanders said he isn’t sure how they will conduct the meeting next week.

“There has been some question about how exactly that is supposed to work out,” Sanders said.

“We’ve talked with the county attorney, but I don’t have a definitive answer for anybody right now.”

Fannin said he’s glad to be still in for the seat, but he’s ready for it to end soon.

“Either I’m going to win or she’s going to win, but I’m just ready to get it over,” Fannin said. “I’d like to tell you I know it will be in my favor, but I can’t say that.”

Fannin said he has enjoyed his campaign so far, and the rest, he’s just going to place in other hands.

“If God wants me to have it, I’ll have it. If he doesn’t, I won’t,” Fannin said.

His opponent Berry could not be reached for comment immediately.

Chair of the Pike County Board of Registrars Evelyn Morgan said the board is working to determine how many of the close to 200 provisional ballots for the county will be counted.

“We have to handle each one and determine whether or not they are eligible to count,” Morgan said.

Some reasons voters may vote provisional is not having their name on a polling list, not registering before an election or if they have committed a felony, Morgan said.

This year, provisional voters made history in Pike County.

“We’ve never had even 50 in one election,” Morgan said.

Provisional ballots eligible for count will be tallied at noon next Wednesday in all local districts.