Clemons out in 1-vote loss, says he will contest results
Incumbent Democrat Alderman-at-Large Leroy Clemons will challenge his one-vote loss to Republican challenger James Carson Waltman after the certified totals came in Friday, June 18.
After election officials tallied absentee and affidavit ballots, incumbent Clemons, with 668 votes, lost to challenger Waltman who had 670 votes in unofficial returns. After the votes were certified on June 18, however, the loss was narrowed to one making it Waltman 670 to Clemons 669.
“If I had lost by a greater margin, I wouldn’t have said anything,” Clemons said after the unofficial returns. “But when losing by just two votes, I think I need to explore some things. We tossed out 17 affidavit ballots and I want to challenge how some of that was done. I think they were done wrong and the process was flawed.”
On June 18, Clemons said he still planned to contest the results.
When contacted Wednesday afternoon, Waltman declined to comment on the election until after the results are certified. Officials have until June 18 to certify the election results.
Clemons said he believes people were being told by poll workers to vote in the wrong place.
“Before the election, I got a copy of the voter roll from City Hall,” Clemons said. “If people called and asked where they were supposed to vote, we would look their names up and tell them where to go.”
Clemons said when the voters in question showed up at the polls, the poll workers were unable to find their names at that precinct, and would send them to another. When their names were not on the roll at the other precinct, they would vote on an affidavit ballot. He said he was in contact at the time with several of those voters by phone.
Clemons said there were 24 affidavit ballots total, including 14 in Ward 4. He said 13 of the 14 were thrown out and most because they voted at the wrong precinct.
“When we got up there Wednesday, they were in the precinct we initially sent them to,” Clemons said.
Clemons said he plans to complete paperwork to protest the election and turn it in within 10 days. He said he is getting legal advice.
“I’m not being a sore loser but I think the way they went about that was wrong,” Clemons said. “I told Mr. Waltman I had no problems with him. There are things in the process that need to be addressed."
Precinct-by-Precinct For Alderman-At-Large
|At-Large||Clemons (D)||Waltman (R)|