Members of the canvassing board count provisional ballots Tuesday. | Alison James

Archived Story

Circuit clerk race calls for recount

Published 12:05pm Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tuesday’s count of the provisional ballots by the canvassing board brought the county one step closer to certified elections results and revealed a possible next step – an automatic recount of votes in the circuit clerk’s race.

Votes for the circuit clerk position will be recounted because the current winning candidate, Patrick Craddock, is not winning by more than one half of 1 percent of the votes – in other words, he did not win by a margin of more than 91 votes.

According to policy the recount must commence within 72 hours of the certification of election results – which will be completed Friday – unless the defeated candidate, Steve Adams, chooses to waive his right to a recount within 24 hours of the certification.

This time frame does not include weekends.

“We feel like a recount should be done so that we know for sure how this came out since it’s so close,” said John Prophitt, chairman of the Tallapoosa County Republican Party. “A lot of things could have happened with the machines. Right now, we’re going to let the recount happen.”

Sixty-four provisional ballots were verified by the board of registrars to be included in the county, said Probate Judge Gloria Sinclair.

“A provisional ballot is exactly the same (as a regular ballot),” Sinclair said. “One week after the election, the canvassing board, which is the sheriff, the circuit clerk and myself, are required to count those provisional ballots and get those totals.”

Sinclair said there are a number of reasons why someone might vote using a provisional ballot, such as going to the wrong polling place or not having identification.

Sinclair said the number of provisional ballots far exceeded what has been typical.

“The most we’ve ever had to be counted was seven or eight,” Sinclair said.

Ballots still left to be counted include an unknown number of absentee ballots sent to members of the military. Military absentee ballots were given a 10-day extension to be returned. After those absentee ballots are counted by hand Friday, the results will be certified, Sinclair said.

That’s when a decision and action on the circuit clerk recount will be paramount.

“I don’t see where it could do anything but benefit me, as far as the race goes,” said circuit clerk candidate Steve Adams. “I plan on trying to take advantage of that. Hopefully the recount will find some discrepancy that will be in my favor.”

Adams said in the meantime he wanted to thank God, his family, friends supporters and voters.

“The outpouring of good wishes and hard work – I’ll never be able to thank them enough,” Adams said.

But the Democratic ticket is staying positive.

“I feel good for Patrick Craddock,” said Randy Haynes, chairman of the Tallapoosa County Democratic Party. “It looks like he will be our circuit clerk.”

Patrick Craddock said that he is optimistic that he may be the next circuit clerk.

“Based on the numbers I have at this time, I am just pleased the people of Tallapoosa County placed their trust in me to be the next circuit clerk,” Craddock said. “At this point, we are just waiting to see if my opponent will want a recount. Once we find out about that, we will know where we stand.”