Watson granted recount in District 5

Published 4:22 pm Friday, March 23, 2012

Butler County Commissioner Lynn Harold Watson has petitioned for and been granted a recount of ballots in District 5.

Watson, the former mayor of Georgiana, was defeated by Darrell Sanders in the Democratic primary on March 13.

Sanders received 393 votes, while Watson collected 379 votes.

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“The law allows a petition for recount on  any grounds for contesting an election,” Butler County Probate Judge Steve Norman said. “This is not a contest, just a recount.”

The grounds for contesting an election include malconduct, fraud, or corruption on the part of any inspector, clerk, marker, returning officer, board of supervisors or other person; ineligibility of the person elected; illegal votes; or the rejection of legal votes; offers to bribe, bribery, intimidation, or other malconduct calculated to prevent a fair, free, and full exercise of the elective franchise.

According to Norman, Watson’s petition for a recount is based on the rejection of legal votes.

“We’re going to be looking at all the ballots from District 5 and checking the under votes,” he said. “An under vote is basically where someone votes for say circuit clerk and president of the Public Service Commission, but does not vote in the county commission race. That would show up as an under vote. We’ll feed all the ballots back through the machines, and the ones it kicks out as having under votes, we’ll check and make sure that there wasn’t a vote in the commission race on that particular ballot. Sometimes if the ballot isn’t marked correctly, it will record all the other votes on the ballot and count that portion as an under vote.

“We’re just making sure the count was right.”

The recount will be held at 9 a.m. Thursday at the Butler County Courthouse Annex.