County to hold recount Nov. 29

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 26, 2004

There's always a first time for everything.

Monday, Crenshaw County will hold the first-ever vote recount of Amendment 2 as required by the Automatic Recount Law, which was passed in 2003 as a result of the close Presidential Election in 2000.

The recount will be performed under the direction of the Canvassing Board, which is made up of Probate Judge Jim Perdue, Circuit Clerk Ann Tate and Crenshaw County Sheriff Charles West at 9 a.m. in the small auditorium at the Crenshaw County Courthouse. Several poll workers will also be appointed to conduct the recount after which the votes will be re-certified and sent back to the Secretary of State.

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"Every ballot must be fed back through the machines," Perdue said. "Only Amendment 2 will be recounted."

The Automatic Recount Law requires that if an amendment or a race is decided by less than 1/2 of one percent then the votes have to automatically be recounted, unless the losing candidate calls off the recount. With an amendment, a recount is required.

Amendment 2, which was one of eight proposed amendments to the state's 1901 constitution on the Nov. 2 ballot, was intended to strike down segregation language and poll taxes, if passed.

Alabama remains the only state in the nation with a remaining section in its constitution promoting segregation in its public school systems – regardless of a federal law that struck down the practice years ago. Under a provision in Article 14, racially-biased wording which reads, "Separate schools shall be provided for white and colored children, and no child of either race shall be permitted to attend a school of the other race," still exists.

The Secretary of State will certify the election results on Nov. 26. All recounts must be performed within 72 hours of result certification. Every county throughout the state will conduct a recount.

"It's really not a bad deal because it's dealing with an amendment," Perdue said. "It's really not something that everyone's up in arms about. We'll get a good practice run, which is what it amounts to. Next time, it might be between two candidates and then it's going to have a lot of attention. So we'll know if the system works."

A total of 5,512 votes were cast on Nov. 2 throughout the county. Of those votes, only 3,448 voters marked their ballots in regards to Amendment 2. County voters favored the amendment by a count of 1,697 (51 percent) yes votes to 1,767 (49 percent) no votes.

"This is the first time this has ever been done," Perdue concluded.