Fannin seeks exam of ballots

Published 8:33 pm Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Pike County Commission’s District 6 opponent Oren Fannin has filed a motion to have ballots and voting equipment examined in his contest of the race.

Fannin, who lost to Karen Berry by just six votes in the Nov. 4 election, filed a contest of the election Nov. 21 in Circuit Court. Now, Fannin has requested examination of ballots, electronic voting machines, voting machine computations and voting machine printouts.

Pike County Circuit Judge Robert Barr will have to approve the motion in a hearing before these items can be examined, and no court date has been set as of now.

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Fannin’s attorney Joel Lee Williams, who is the attorney for the Democratic Party in Pike County, said the statute requires this type of motion be filed, but he refused to comment on why Fannin is contesting the race.

Fannin could not be reached for comment.

If the judge rules to allow for these reexaminations, six precincts will be examined in the District 6 election, as well as absentee and provisional ballots.

Probate Judge Bill Stone said 2,578 ballots were cast in the race on election day, 242 absentee ballots counted in the race and nine provisional ballots tallied a week after Election Day.

This left a total of 1,391 votes cast for the Republican Berry and 1,385 for Fannin, her Democratic opponent.

Stone said the absentee totals don’t include ballots that were submitted but not eligible for the count. On Election Day, separate voting equipment was used for each of the six precincts and absentee ballots. Provisional ballots were tallied by hand, so there is no voting machine that counted those ballots, Stone said.

Rob Johnston, election attorney for the Secretary of State, said how these reexaminations are done will be up to the discretion of the local judge.

Although the District 6 race has already undergone a recount, Johnston said reexamination would be a different process.

“It wouldn’t necessarily be a recount,” Johnston said. “It will be up to the judge to say what and how it needs to be done.”