In a post on his campaign’s Facebook page, House District 102 candidate Willie Gray told his supporters “hang in there folks,” in reference to the 25 votes he is currently down to Satsuma Police Chief Shane Stringer after Tuesday’s primary runoff.
“We were up then down,” Gray wrote in the post. “Due to some glitches with a voting machine, we still do not know the results. We are waiting to hear from Probate Court on their decision of what will be done.”
In a comment farther down the thread, the campaign posted that the Probate Court had told Gray there would be a hand recount of ballots at a single precinct. Despite the campaign’s claims though, Davis said there were no glitches with machines on Tuesday that would’ve impacted the counts and there was certainly no recount planned at any precinct.
Davis said there was an issue with one machine outside of District 102, but it didn’t impact the final ballot count. That glitch appears to be the one to which the campaign was referring.
Jon Gray, who managed the Citronelle newspaper owner and publisher’s campaign, has said the District 102 race saw problems related to the new crossover law, which prevents participants in the opposite party’s primary from participating in the other party’s runoff. In a phone interview, Gray said some voters who had voted in the GOP primary were incorrectly marked as having voted on the Democratic side and were forced to vote a provisional ballot.
Davis confirmed that this was an issue at multiple polling places. It is unclear how many voters were affected. Voters who cast a provisional ballot on Tuesday because of this issue and are found to have voted on the GOP side June 5 will have that vote counted, assuming everything else checks out.
There were 58 provisional ballots cast in the circuit judge’s race, but Stringer’s campaign said 58 provisional ballots would be vetted on Tuesday, enough to swing the race to Gray’s favor. Stringer would need only 17 of the remaining votes to claim victory.
“At that point, the official winner will be announced,” Stringer’s campaign offered on Facebook.
Because it’s a primary race, this contest is not eligible for an automatic recount, even if the resulting margin is slim enough to trigger one. State law offers an automatic recount in general elections only, Davis said.
Candidates will have 48 hours after the results are finalized to call for a recount. The candidate will foot the bill for that recount. Jon Gray said Willie Gray’s campaign was focused on provisional ballots. A recount, he said, would be a waste of time unless there was a reason to suspect problems with the numbers.