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After recount, Grider, Wiggins, Norrington still Jonesboro
council winners

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

Tuesday's general election recount in the city of Jonesboro resulted in some gains and losses for the candidates, but ultimately yielded the same winning candidates.

Councilmen Roger Grider and Bobby Wiggins will hold on to the their council seats, while Wallace Norrington will replace Linda Wenz on the six-member council beginning in January 2008.

Luther Maddox defeated Joy Day to win the mayor's race outright. Also, in a special race to fill Maddox's unexpired term, Billy Powell won over Donya Sartor.

Meanwhile, the final results of the Tuesday recount for the three remaining council seats were Wiggins with 227 votes, Grider with 206, and Norrington with 179 votes.

In the recount, Wiggins and Norrington each gained four votes from the Nov. 6 count, while Grider lost one vote.

For those who lost in the election earlier this month, some had new vote totals, but not enough to overturn the results.

Wenz picked up one additional vote, bringing her total to 173. Larry Boak received five additional votes to tally 170. He finished slightly ahead of Pat Sebo, who had 168 votes, one less vote than she had in the Nov. 6 count. Daniel Hudson received 146 votes in the recount, the same number that was counted on Nov. 6.

In council races, all are at-large, usually with half of the council facing re-election every two years, and the top three vote-getters are declared winners.

From 1:30- 5:15 p.m., about twenty people -- mostly candidates and their family members -- waited quietly in the community room of Clayton County Fire Station No. 13 while poll workers counted each paper ballot by hand. For several hours, all that could be heard was the occasional shuffling of paper, heavy breathing, and the names of the candidates as they appeared on the ballots.

Due to the difficulty of counting paper ballots, poll workers had to restart the process three times, the first two times counting the names of all candidates as they appeared on the ballot, and the third time counting the number of votes separately for each candidate.

At the end of the nearly four-hour ordeal, the room sighed a collective breath of relief.

"I guess the third time was the charm," said B.J. Burrell, poll manager for the Jonesboro election. "We're gong to have the machines next time."

Burrell said that the combination of having seven candidates in the general election, and the use of paper ballots, complicated the counting.

"With that many [candidates] running for seats, it's hard to keep up with when you're tallying," said Burrell. "I'm glad they're through and that everybody is satisfied now," she added.

"I'm not disappointed because I lost, because I feel like we gained something," said Boak. "We got a new mayor and we voted in people that I trust. Even though [Norrington] beat me, we're still friends," Boak continued. "He's a good man. Maybe next time I'll get elected. I don't think I'll be too old."

"I'm actually fine," with the results, said Sebo. "We have the technology, we just need to use it," she said, urging the use of voting machines in future elections.

"This is my first time out, and I felt I did well. I'm looking forward to the next two years ... you'll see Sebo signs everywhere."