Vital asks for recount after ballot counting error - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Vital asks for recount after ballot counting error

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Picture courtesy of Greg Vital's campaign website Picture courtesy of Greg Vital's campaign website

HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) - Polls have closed, votes have been counted, winners named. But a candidate for state Senate says the race isn't over yet.

"I think it's essential that every vote be counted," said Greg Vital, in an interview with Channel 3.

Greg Vital wants a recount, after an Eastdale poll worker left out ballots for five candidates.

"The error was when he put the card into the machine to read the card and upload it," explained Hamilton County Election Administrator Charlotte Mullis-Morgan, "it was pulled out too fast and the server missed about four different races."

Mullis-Morgan couldn't say how many ballots were affected, but said the mistake didn't change the outcome of the election.

"The numbers are what they are," she assured.

Friday, an election audit awarded District 10 State Senate candidate Todd Gardenhire with additional votes.

"Todd Gardenhire got 25 more votes," said Mullis-Morgan. "There were others who got a couple (votes)."

"With that close number, we still probably need to request a recount to see if every vote has been counted appropriately," Vital said.

Election night results showed Vital behind Gardenhire by just 15 votes. He believes a recount could name him the winner.

"I hope to be a victor," he told Channel 3, "I've worked hard at it, my opponent has worked hard, but let's see where the numbers come in."

Gardenhire, who is now 40 votes ahead, says he wants his opponent to be satisfied with the results, but he's ready to move on to the November election.

"I'm not going to declare myself a winner until it's officially done," he said Friday, "and hopefully he'll (Vital) come to realize and accept what the results were."

Other Races Impacted

There were four other candidates impacted by the error.

Democrats Quentson Coleman, Mary Headrick, and Tommie Brown gained additional votes. So did Republican Ron Bhalla.

Those races were not as close as the District 10 State Senate race.

Recount

Mullis-Morgan says she's never seen a recount in her 30 years in Hamilton County.

The commission would have to have a court order to open sealed ballots to recount them.

Vital has five days after the election is certified on August 16th to ask for a recount.

Republican Party officials at the state level would ultimately decide if a recount goes forward.

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