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Challenge filed in mayoral race

Thomson mayoral challenger Delmar "Brink" Bradshaw confirmed Monday that he has filed a legal challenge in the wake of the Nov. 8 election.

Mayor Kenneth Usry's victory margin widened Monday after five provisional ballots were counted. McDuffie County Elections Director Kelvin Williams said. Williams made the announcement at an election board meeting at which the election results were certified. The board also rejected Bradshaw's request for a recount.

Usry's vote count stands at 597, and Bradshaw's at 579. Usry picked up three votes with the provisional ballots, and Bradshaw gained two.

Ten ballots were not included in election night results but were designated as provisional. Voters were given until the close of business Friday - the third day after the election - to confirm residency or to resolve other questions about eligibility. Five of the 10 ballots were validated and counted.

Four of the validated ballots also contained votes for the city council District 2-B race. Each candidate gained two votes. Incumbent the Rev. John Smalley's final vote count was 291, or 75.58 percent of the vote. Challenger James Taylor Jr.'s final vote count was 93.

At the Friday meeting, Bradshaw asked for a recount. That request was tabled until Monday. Williams said the board needed time to research the law.

Williams said because the margin was greater than 1 percent, the board was not obligated to recount. Williams determined the margin was 1.53 percent.

Williams cited and read Georgia law, and said the board's action was based on advice from City Attorney Jimmy Samuels.

Williams informed the board that an action has been filed in McDuffie County Superior Court contesting the results.

He said he was notified Thursday. He said an outside judge would have to be appointed to hear the case. He did not have details of that challenge.

Bradshaw confirmed to The McDuffie Mirror that he had filed the lawsuit. Williams had no estimate for the cost the city and county might be facing in a legal challenge, or for the cost of a recount if one is ordered.

Board chairman Bill Beckum said had the margin of victory been less than 1 percent, the board would have undertaken a recount.

Election board member Peggy Lovejoy joined Beckum in Monday's votes. The third board member, Steve Strouble, was absent.

Williams and Bradshaw also said complaints had been filed with the Georgia Secretary of State's office. They did not elaborate.

Three write-in votes were cast in the mayoral election, for Epp Wilson, Joann Harris and Mike Carrington. One write-in vote was cast in the city council contest, for Bow Wow.

The four other incumbent city council members were re-elected without opposition: Alton Belton, District 2-A; Clifford "Bud" Lunceford, 1-A; Jaye Jones, 1-B; and Bernice Brown, 3-C.

All those elected Nov. 8 will take office in January. Terms are for four years.

Also Monday, Lovejoy submitted names of two possible appointees to fill Beckum's chair on the election board. His term expires at the end of December.

Web posted on Thursday, November 17, 2011

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