Rhodes, Roper tied for Board, District One seat

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 3, 2006

In a vote that resulted in a 431 to 429 count during the July 18 Democratic Primary run-off elections, it now stands at a 431 tie for incumbent William Roper and his opponent Ronald Rhodes. The two men are running for the Crenshaw County Board of Education, District One seat.

Roper had received 431 ballots, and Rhodes had received 429.

At the July 18 count, the only ballots that had not been counted were the provisional ballots. According to John Nichols, Chairman of the Crenshaw County Democratic Executive Committee, there was one provisional ballot that had been cast for Rhodes, bringing the total number to 431- 430, still in favor of Roper.

Nichols said that the Democratic Party was not going to do a recount as a party, but that Rhodes had asked for a recount.

Tuesday afternoon at the Crenshaw County Courthouse, the recount took place with Probate Judge Jim Perdue overseeing the process.

In Precinct One, in the Panola Community Center, Rhodes received 45 votes to Roper's 66. However, there were 8 under votes, where a voter does not vote in that particular race. On one of the under votes, someone had voted for Rhodes in ballpoint pen, which is why the voting machine did not pick up the vote. That vote brought Rhodes to a 431 tie with Roper.

In Precinct Two, at the Danielville School House, Rhodes received 63 votes originally to Roper's 120. There were four under votes. However, in the recount, they were two ballots short. Rhodes received 62 votes, and Roper received 119, which kept the overall count the same.

Perdue asked for the record of election box for Precinct Two to be reopened in order to search for the two missing ballots, but they were not there.

&#8220We had 187 signatures for that precinct but only 185 ballots,” Perdue said.

In Precinct Four, at the Honoraville Fire Station, Rhodes received 116 ballots to Roper's 113, with seven under votes.

In Precinct 13, at the Highland Home Fire Department, Rhodes received 190 votes to Roper's 128, with two under votes.

Rhodes got 15 absentee votes, and Roper received 4 absentee votes.

The one provisional ballot was cast for Rhodes, bringing the total election recount to 431-431 with 22 under votes.

Nichols said that according to the state statutes, he, as the chairman of the Democratic Executive Committee, was to make the final decision on the winner of the election.

&#8220I have found one precedent set by Pickens County several years ago where they let two candidates who had tied draw dominoes, and the one with the most dots won the election,” Nichols said. &#8220At the next county commission meeting, we will have Mr. Rhodes and Mr. Roper draw the dominoes then to decide the winner.”

The next Crenshaw County Commission meeting will be held on Monday, Aug. 14, beginning at 9 a.m.

&#8220It's been a fair process,” Roper, who has served on the Board of Education for two terms, said at the courthouse Tuesday afternoon. &#8220I don't have any complaints with the election process. I just wish that it was over.”