Valdosta mayoral race goes to runoff

Mayoral race comes down to runoff after results delay

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - We’re hearing more from the Lowndes County Board of Elections about the delayed results on Election Day.

The county is one of seven across the state that piloted a new touchscreen-then-print ballot system.

For the Lowndes County Board of Elections, things may not have gone as planned but according to Deb Cox, the supervisor of elections, they went home happy with the end result.

Deb Cox
Deb Cox (Source: WALB)

“We had already anticipated having an all-night election. So, we got to go home early," said Cox.

Cox said after voting ended, they had issues with the election results memory cards.

“If the memory card for each one you’re uploading has the same file name, what happens? Easily you upload one and then one uploads over top of the other," explained Cox.

So Cox said they could see the results, but wanted to err on the side of caution.

“Do you have somebody come down from Atlanta, which they were willing to do, and re-create them? Or do you count the ballots? We opted to go ahead and count the ballots," said Cox.

We're hearing more from the Lowndes County Board of Elections about the delayed election results.
We're hearing more from the Lowndes County Board of Elections about the delayed election results. (Source: WALB)

Thankful that the new system leaves a paper trail, she said they wanted to be safe. So they did what they were trained to do.

“Something isn’t exactly what you wanted it to be. You step to the next system or you step to the next system. That’s not a disappointment, it’s the nature of the beast," explained Cox.

This is exactly what she said they did with the bumps in the road while transitioning to the new system.

“Everything we do in elections, from A-to-Z, has a process and a backup process and a backup process to the backup process," said Cox.

Cox said the new system is still one that should be trusted and expects that voters will understand that this is just a minor hiccup that comes with the territory.

“They understand that when you’re checking something, to make sure that it’s 100 percent accurate, they’re willing to wait for that," said Cox.

They’re currently doing what they do after every election, which includes verifying ballots, getting equipment back in, and in this case, preparing for a runoff.

While most campaign signs for most of the qualifying candidates are still up, the mayoral race is coming down to competitors J.D. Rice and Scott James Matheson.

“Here we go again. Three weeks and it’s going to be a hectic three weeks," said Matheson.

“The runoff if a process that we have to go through," said Rice.

“After 10 months of campaigning, you come down to that night and you kind of want some satisfaction or at least the end result," said Matheson.

A sense of satisfaction that didn’t come until sometime after midnight when the final results came in.

Both parties said they’re excited to have made it this far.

“Feels great, feels fantastic. A whole lot of people putting in a whole lot of work," explained Matheson.

Work that they said doesn’t stop there as the two continue moving forward to see who will take the mayor’s seat.

“Get re-energized, get back to the polls and cast our vote a second time," said Rice.

According to Matheson, the two aren’t super surprised at this election outcome.

“We hugged, we wished each other well and we kind of predicted that we were going to be in a runoff come November," said Matheson.

According to the Board of Elections, the is set for Dec. 3.

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