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Mitchell wins in recount
by Rachel Kellogg
November 06, 2013 07:38 AM | 5742 views | 0 0 comments | 55 55 recommendations | email to a friend | print
UPDATE: Wednesday, 11:30 a.m.: According to Post 1 opponent Doug DeRito, the recount conducted by the Fulton County elections department showed no change in the number of votes and incumbent Donald Mitchell is officially the victor.

"I lost by seven votes, but am thankful for all the support I did receive. I called and congratulated Donald Mitchell on his win. He was not present at [the] recount. I wished him and our city the very best," DeRito said.

UPDATE: Tuesday, 11:30 a.m.: A recount is scheduled for Wednesday following the certification of votes in Alpharetta's Post 1 City Council race.

The results — with all polling locations, provisional ballots, early voting ballots and absentee ballots counted — show incumbent Donald Mitchell as the winner with 49.88 percent of the votes.

His opponent, former councilman Doug DeRito, trailed with 49.56 percent of the votes.

With only seven votes separating their total votes, with Mitchell at 1,079 and DeRito at 1,072, a recount was automatically triggered because the amount separating the votes was less than 1 percent.

But according to the Fulton County Department of Registration and Elections, DeRito requested a recount.

The recount will take place at 10 a.m. at the Election Preparation Center.

The elections department counted all the votes from the Nov. 5 municipal election Friday and certified them on Saturday.

Check back later this week for an update on the recount.

UPDATE - Thursday, 4:30 p.m.: According to the Fulton County Department of Registration and Elections, "provisional results be tabulated on Friday and will be certified on Saturday as is scheduled."

When asked if the department plans to do a recount on the votes, April Majors, public information officer for Fulton County, said candidates must request recounts in writing within two business days following certification.

A statement released by the city of Alpharetta earlier today says, "Fulton County has just informed us that there are 24 provisional ballots under consideration for the Alpharetta election. We are told that the race will not be decided until Saturday."

UPDATE - Thursday, 11:30 a.m.: Provisional ballots have still not been counted, but incumbent Donald Mitchell looks to have won the Post 1 spot.

"I am proud that we ran a clean, positive campaign and ignored the negative political attacks. I hope everyone will look at my real record of accomplishments and commitment to our city. I'll work even harder now to keep up the momentum for our city and all of it's citizens. This should be a real lesson to all of us, your vote counts and it does make a difference," he said Wednesday morning.

UPDATE - 10:45 a.m.: It may be as late as Saturday before the final votes for Alpharetta's post 1 city council race are tallied. While the absentee votes have been calculated, the provisional votes have not, said April Majors, public information officer for Fulton County.

"According to law, they have three days to verify the provisional ballots," she said. "On Saturday, the board of registrations and elections will be holding a meeting in order to somewhat close the poll for provisional ballots because they should be completely counted by then."

Update: As of 7:40 a.m. November 6, Mitchell leads DeRito by just 7 votes. Mitchell has 1,070 votes, DeRito has 1,063. Provisional ballots have not been counted. If this margin holds, the race will trigger an automatic recount.

Updated 12 a.m. Nov. 6: Though incumbent Donald Mitchell was in the lead by 14 votes in Alpharetta’s Post 1 City Council race as of midnight on election night, the seat could still go to opponent and former councilman Doug DeRito.

According to Fulton County spokeswoman Erika Davis, the department of registration and elections had not counted all the absentee by mail and provisional ballots. Election officials were unclear as to when the ballots would be counted.

The ballots must be tallied by Saturday, the date when the election has to be certified. The absentee in-person ballots, also known as early voting, have been counted.

Once the votes are counted, a recount is likely if the slim vote margin holds. If there is less than 1 percent separating the two candidates, there will be an automatic recount at date and time to be determined after the election is certified.

“We don’t know if there’s going to be a recount,” Davis said.

According to Dick Jones, who worked on Mitchell’s campaign, victory could not be claimed because it was “too close to call.”

As results started to come in from the Fulton elections department at about 8:30 p.m., it was clear it would be a close race. With only one precinct reporting at that time, the results were an even 50 percent to 50 percent.

As more of the 20 precincts were counted, the candidate in the lead fluctuated until 100 percent of polling places had reported.

At that point, DeRito was in the lead with less than one percent of the vote. But at 11:30 p.m. the results on Fulton County’s election website, www.fultonelections.com, had changed to say Mitchell was in the lead with 50.05 percent of the votes and DeRito with 49.39 percent.

DeRito said he was not surprised by the neck-and-neck outcome.

“I felt that it would be pretty close,” he said around 11 p.m., when the election results still showed him in the lead.

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