SMITHVILLE, GA (WALB) - The race for Smithville's mayor is hinging on two provisional ballots that won't be opened until Friday, if they are valid at all.
Former Mayor Jack Smith ran against incumbent Mayor Jerry Myrick and challenger Vincent Cutts. Smith got exactly half the vote, but that is not enough for the win.
Now, Lee County election workers are investigating to see if two provisional ballots should be counted. They could determine whether it's victory for Smith or a runoff.
Resident Wadel Wright says "Hard to understand, if Mr. Jack had the majority of the vote it seems to me he should have won." But he was a vote short.
Elections Superintendent Veronica Johnson says "In Georgia, in order to win an election, you need a majority of the votes to win without a runoff, and a majority means 50%, plus 1."
And, Tuesday night, Jack Smith received 91 votes, exactly 50% of the 181 votes cast, one vote shy of an outright victory.
Incumbent Mayor Jerry Myrick got 48 votes. "Smithville's a small city so we have had elections decided by 2 or 3 votes, but never one."
When longtime elections superintendent Veronica Johnson tallied up the votes Tuesday night, she immediately called Smith and Myrick and told them that the race was not over, and two provisional ballots, if valid, will determine the race on Friday.
"I was kinda shocked when Veronica called, I was wondering why she was calling me that late at night."
Mayor Myrick could not speak with us on camera, but told us he is anxiously waiting on the results. "We always stress how important every vote is but each vote seriously does count."
"This is a good illustration of that--one does count--I have never seen this before, I have been involved in politics, I have never seen this," Smith said.
Now, the Lee County Elections workers are investigating those two ballots, and there might be an issue with one ballot.
"We researched it through property tax records and common knowledge, and a whole slew of stuff, we are like mini detectives."
The Lee County elections staff will present their detective work to the Elections Board at their meeting Friday at 5 p.m. If the ballots are determined to be valid, then they will be counted.
If Jack Smith receives one vote, he will win. If not, the race will go to a runoff December second.