Sheriff candidate will file election complaint - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Sheriff candidate will file election complaint

July 21, 2004

Sylvester-- For the first time in 24-years, election workers in Worth County had to recount votes. A candidate in the sheriff's race disagreed with Probate Judge Virginia Andrews' decision to allow a Worth County Deputy to carry in the results from two precincts.

Wednesday, those who protested the final numbers closely watched as the votes were recounted.

Nineteen voting machines from three precincts were wheeled into the Worth County Courthouse to start what would be a three-hour long vote recount. A recount called by the judge in charge of the election after she allowed an off-duty deputy to handle votes from two precincts.

"He was not a deputy, rather he was not hired as a deputy from the sheriff's department. He was hired as a person that I hired after hours and gave official election oath," says Probate Judge Virginia Andrews.

Regardless of the oath, the judge's decision started a firestorm of debate on election night, and much of the criticism came from campaign workers of Incumbent Sheriff Freddie Thompkins' biggest competition-- Tommy Adams.

"We were still waiting on one of the polls to come in which was precinct one and then we found out it was already in," says Jamie Adams of  the Adams' Campaign.

What is in question are the memory cards that have votes electronically imprinted on them. Votes some citizens believe were tampered with, or at least mishandled.

Cards that Judge Andrews says no one could have changed even if he tried. "If that card was destroyed, in any way when we got ready to upload it onto our GYM server, the Secretary of State protective server, then obviously nothing would happen, and that was not the cause not the case."

So Wednesday under the watchful eyes of the opponents, the information stored on the hard drive of these machines was printed and verified.

And when it was all over, "Where we stand at now is that we are looking at perusing it further, because of the way it was handled last night," says Jamie Adams.

Although workers couldn't point out any discrepancies, they say they are still not ready to say officially they lost the election.

Members of the Adams Campaign say they plan to file a grievance with the Secretary of State's office. Judge Andrews still contends she did nothing wrong.

Incumbent Sheriff Freddie Tompkins won the Democratic side of the election without a runoff, and will face Detective Tony Strenth in the November election.

posted at 6:15PM by scott.hunter@walb.com

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