A recount of ballots in the race for Franklin County sheriff Wednesday confirmed a close victory by incumbent Stevie Thomas over challenger Scott Andrews.
CARNESVILLE – A recount of ballots in the race for Franklin County sheriff Wednesday confirmed a close victory by incumbent Stevie Thomas over challenger Scott Andrews.
The recount showed Thomas winning by a 29 vote margin (2,878-2,849), a slight increase from the 26-vote difference reported on Election Night.
The recount was held Wednesday at the Franklin County Elections and Registration Office in Carnesville.
Andrews formally requested a recount last week after the first count of ballots showed him losing by just .45 percent to Thomas in the Republican primary election Tuesday.
The Board of Elections formally certified the results of the election Friday.
State law allows candidates within one percent of a winning candidate to request a recount within two days of the vote being certified.
The recount involved the rescanning of every mail-in absentee ballot and computer-generated ballot from the June 9 primary.
The primary was the first time the state has used a new voting system in which voters mark ballots on a touch-screen computer. The ballots are then printed out and scanned for the votes to count.
Elections officials rescanned all ballots – Republican, Democratic and non-partisan – during the recount, but only votes in the sheriff’s race were counted.
The scanners used in the recount were tested Tuesday prior to the recount to make sure they were working properly.
Both candidates and others gathered for the recount early Wednesday morning. Some watched the recount from just outside a small room where a scanner was hooked up, while others watched on a closed-circuit television in the lobby.
Review panels were appointed and required to check any ballots that are marked improperly, torn, bent or have other issues that keep the ballot from being scanned and counted. When needed, the panel created a duplicated ballot that was used to cast the vote.
The recount began promptly at 9 a.m.
The recount concluded around 1 p.m. after some issues that caused officials to start over on the recount of some ballots.
According to the certified results released Friday, Thomas garnered 2,874 votes in the primary for sheriff to Andrews’ 2,848, a difference of just .45 percent.
A total of 6,496 people voted in either the Republican, Democratic or non-partisan ballots.
The non-partisan ballot included only state and local judicial races, with two Supreme Court contests the only ones contested.
Of the 6,496 total voters, 5,813 voted in the Republican primary, which included all of the local political races, while 608 voted as Democrats and 75 voted non-partisan.
The sheriff’s race recorded 5,722 votes, meaning that 91 people who voted Republican did not choose a candidate in the election.
Most of the ballots that were not marked in the sheriff’s race were mailed-in absentee ballots.
Sixty-two voters – out of 2,733 – who voted by absentee did not vote in the sheriff’s race, elections documents show. Four people – out of 995 – who voted early in person did choose a sheriff’s candidate. On Election Day, 25 out of 2,085 voters did not choose a candidate.
Thomas won those who voted by mail by a 247-vote margin (1,459-1,212), while Andrews won those voting early in person 549-442 and those who cast ballots on Election Day 1,067-973.
Broken down by precincts, Thomas won the Canon precinct – where he lives – by a 332-192 margin and also won the Northeast Franklin, Lavonia and Royston precincts.
Andrews won the Southwest Franklin precinct by a wide margin – 556-432 – and also won the Carnesville and West Franklin precincts.