UPDATE: New Albany re-vote apparently changes run-off lineup but final numbers not in

The emergency re-vote in the New Albany Ward 3 alderman’s race apparently did change the outcome for the two challengers to incumbent Tommie Beasley, but the answer will not be known until Wednesday.

Beasley, who narrowly missed a primary victory with nearly 49 percent May 5, will still be in the run-off next Tuesday, but with Chris Bufford instead of Larry Dykes, even though Dykes was in second place in the primary.

Beasley got 124 votes or 45.09 percent of the re-vote while Dykes got 71 votes for 25.82 percent and Bufford got 75 votes for 27.27 percent.

That was the unofficial total but City Clerk Anne Neal said the municipal Democratic executive committee would have to meet at 10 a.m. Wednesday to certify the results and count affidavit ballots.

She said there are four affidavit ballots, conceivably enough to result in a tie for second place if Dykes were to receive all four.
Neal and Circuit Clerk Phyllis Stanford said they did not know of the procedure in case of a tie for a run-off spot. Neither knew of it happening in Union County before.

The decision to hold a re-vote on short notice was apparently the best of some bad choices for the municipal Democratic executive committee after it was learned that election software had placed about 100 voters in Ward 3 when they should have been in Ward 2. Only 12 of them voted, but the concern was that number could have changed who would face Beasley in the run-off, given the two-vote difference between Dykes and Bufford.

One choice was to simply accept the total as certified last week but officials did not like that, knowing an error had occurred. They were not given the option of have a Ward 3 re-vote with the May 19 run-off and then a Ward 3 run-off as part of the June 2 general election.

A problem with a quick re-vote was that it had to be done on paper ballots and there was no time for absentee voting. Paper ballots contributed to the hour or so it took to count the 275 votes Tuesday night.

The re-vote also shortened the campaigning time before next week’s originally scheduled party run-off and essentially prevented absentee voting for the Ward 3 seat in that as well.

The computer glitch and re-vote had nothing to do with the attorney general’s and secretary of state’s investigations into possible vote fraud involving 53 absentee ballots here. However, there is the possibility those votes could change results as well.

City officials said they have been given no timetable concerning when those investigations will be over and the box containing the questioned ballots will remain sealed pending a court order to examine them.

Nearly lost in the two voting problem incidents have been the other races that will be decided next Tuesday.

Incumbent Mayor Tim Kent and challenger Betsey Hamilton will vie for the Democratic nomination in the mayor’s race and incumbent Ward 4 Alderman Bill Tucker will face J. Pullman for his seat as well. Kent received 43.11 per cent to Hamilton’s 41.65 percent and Tucker got 48.9 percent compared to Pullman’s 27.92 percent.

The winner in the mayor’s run-off will face Independent Jerry Kennamore in the June 2 general election. The other winners in the Democratic primary will automatically be elected if each receives at least one vote in the general election.

Four races were determined in the primary.

Ward 1 Alderman Jeff Olson was unopposed and long-time Police Chief David Grisham defeated Danny Robinson by a margin of 68 percent to 31 percent.

The other two races saw incumbents lose.

Challenger Scott Dunnam defeated incumbent alderman-at-large Dan Skinner with 55 percent compared to 40 percent.

Ward 2 Alderman Larry Sanford, with 30 percent of the vote, was defeated by Johnny Anderson, who had previously held that seat for more than two terms, with 53 percent of the vote.

New city officials will take office July 6.

Unofficial May 12 Ward 3 re-vote totals:

Tommie Beasley 124 45.09%
Chris Buford 75 27.27%
Larry Dykes 71 25.82%


New Albany News-Exchange

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