Dissonance postpones vote count for 60 days

By Lisa Taylor

Some discrepancy regarding the vote count of the Seventh Ward write-in candidacy will not be proven until ballots can be recounted in 60 days, said DeKalb County Clerk Terry Desmond.

Mark Powell won the aldermanic race in the Seventh Ward with 90 votes over write-in candidate Karen Seymour, who had 73. However, Seymour said a member of the DeKalb County board of elections told her 50 percent of her total ballots were determined invalid.

“According to judges, if those ballots hadn’t been invalidated it would have been an overwhelming victory for me,” Seymour said. “It’s really hard to realize that more people tried to vote for you, but because of red tape and misunderstandings you lost.”

A write-in ballot can be declared invalid by an election judge if a voter has written two candidates names, put a checkmark within a box instead of an “x,” did not put a box on the ballot or misspelled the candidate’s name.

A number of these errors were made by voters when casting a ballot for Seymour, Desmond said.

Seymour said she and her campaign staff will seek advice from a lawyer, possibly suggesting a recount.

According to the results of precincts 5, 6, 9 and 12, which comprise the Seventh Ward, “no more than 10 to 15 ballots could have been invalid,” Desmond said. However, the official number of invalid votes cannot be recounted by election judges for 60 days, he said.

In seven days, the results will be sent to a canvassing board, composed of Mayor Greg Sparrow, City Clerk Marguerite Hoyt and City Attorney Jerry Shapiro.