COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The Muscogee County Sheriff's primary race is hanging in the balance as incumbent John Darr narrowly holds the lead with 76 votes. The final decision will come Friday after the elections office counts provisional and military absentee ballots before officially certifying the votes.
On Tuesday, more than 17,000 voters cast ballots in that Democratic race. Provisional ballots are issued to voters whose registration cannot be verified at the polls. Elections officials are now spending the next two days rejecting or approving those ballots.
Elections supervisor, Nancy Boren, says more than 260 military ballots were mailed out 45 days ago, some going as far as Iraq and Afghanistan. Based upon previous elections, only 6 to 8 percent are normally returned to the office before the deadline. Soldiers have until Friday to submit their mail-in ballots. "I am not expecting those ballots to make a big difference in the outcome," explained Boren.
While the votes are being counted, both candidates are anxiously awaiting to see who will come out on top. News Leader 9 caught up with John Darr Tuesday night as he watched the numbers switch back and forth touting Brown as the top vote getter until another return quickly gave him the edge late into the night. "I have said from the beginning, we have done a lot of good things in the 3-and- a-half years. But we'll wait and see if this holds and get busy, "added Darr, a first-term sheriff, seeking re-election.
Retired Lieutenant from the Muscogee County Sheriff's Department, Pam Brown, says she was wondering how she missed those 76 votes, but feels the outcome shows people want change. "I think the community spoke for itself that a change is needed in Columbus. It was exciting," said Brown. She also stated she will request a recount if Darr is declared the nominee.
According to Georgia law, a candidate has the right to request a recount when the difference in the vote is within 1 percent. The request must be made within 2 business days after the nominee is officially named. In this case, Tuesday will be the deadline to request a recount.