Incumbent Democrat Dan Wright led Republican Davey Reed by 14 votes on election night 3,203 to 3,189. Rita Taft, the chief clerk in the Walker County Probate Judge’s Office, said those numbers changed after provisional ballots were counted. Wright now leads Reed by only eight votes, 3,207 to 3,199.
According to Alabama law, if any candidate in a general election is defeated by not more than .5 percent of the total votes cast for the office, a recount is automatically held.
“The additional provisional votes have made a recount mandatory,” Taft said.
Wright was sworn in for his second term of office on Wednesday, but election results were not officially certified by the county until Friday. State law says the recount must begin within 72 hours of the initial certification of the results. Probate Judge Rick Allision has set that recount for 9 a.m. Monday at his office.
While the recount will be costly to the county, Taft said paid poll workers will not be used. Instead, volunteers from the probate judge’s office, the circuit clerk’s office and the sheriff’s office will work the recount.
“We do what we can to keep the cost down,” she said. “But this is something that is mandatory from the state. In an election this close, there must be a recount.”
Taft said she expected the recount process to take approximately two hours. She said each of the more than 6,400 ballots cast in District 2 must be run through the scanning machine to insure an accurate count.
The last recount in a Walker County election was also in District 2. In 2010, only four votes separated Republican Dale Reeves and Democrat Jeff Burrough. Reeves was named the winner of the election by five votes once the recount was completed.