The Cobb County Board of Elections has reviewed the four provisional ballots from Austell’s Tuesday election and found only one to be valid.
That vote was for Randy Green, bringing the official counts to 250 votes for Green, 252 for his challenger Suzanne Thomason for At-Large Post 2 city council seat. The votes remain the same for Ward 4 city council seat with incumbent Virginia Reagan winning 94 votes and challenger Lance Lamberton receiving 90.
Lamberton has submitted a written request for a recount to Austell City Clerk Carolyn Duncan.
However, the request will need to be resubmitted, Duncan explained, because formal recount requests can only be made two days after Monday, according to state regulations.
“I’m really really concerned about the difference of the people who voted on Election Day and the people who voted in early voting and absentee,” Lamberton said.
Both challengers, Lamberton and Thomason, won the majority of votes cast on Election Day. However, nearly all the 75 votes cast in early and absentee voting were for Green and Reagan.
“You can’t help but think that there may have been manipulation of the voting. It just doesn’t make sense…It makes me concerned about the validity of the voting process…The best way to address this problem is for the City of Austell to go to the 21st century and engage in electronic voting,” Lamberton said.
The votes for the uncontested mayoral and Ward 2 City Council seats were also counted on Friday at approximately 1 p.m., Duncan said.
Of the 505 votes cast, incumbent Mayor Joe Jerkins received 392 votes. Current Ward 2 city councilman Scott Thomas received 20.
Duncan said the count of the mayoral and Ward 2 votes was not announced to the public because “it wasn’t necessary. It was an administrative procedure.
The box of ballots was taken from a locked facility in the police department and the seals were broken to count those votes.
Duncan said Sgt. Corbin of the Austell Police Department, along with two other city employees were present while the votes were counted. Additionally, Denise Soesbee and Elizabeth Bone of the finance department were there intermittently.
“We were never alone with the box. We had an entourage there,” Duncan said.