By Curt Yeomans
Residents of the Clayton County Board of Education's District 3 will have to wait a week to determine the next member of the embattled school board.
Charles Davis, who lost the Aug. 5 runoff to Jessie Goree by a mere 12 votes, filed a request with the Clayton County Board of Elections on Thursday for a recount of the absentee and advance-vote ballots.
Davis received 49.77 percent of the votes on Tuesday, while Goree got 50.23 percent.
Absentee and advance voters comprised the county's last precinct, and it was that group that tilted the election in Goree's favor.
Davis was leading by 76 votes before the final precinct was counted, but Goree outpaced him by 88 advance and absentee ballots. She won that precinct with 56 percent of the vote.
"I'm puzzled by the results," Davis said. "If I had been losing all night, it would have been one thing, but I wasn't losing. I was gaining toward the end, so It's hard for me to believe I didn't get more absentee votes."
Under Georgia Annotated Code 21-2-495, the recount cannot take place until Clayton County Board of Elections Director Annie Bright has notified both Davis and Goree in writing. Both candidates have the right to be present.
Davis said he expects the recount to be performed sometime next week, but he does not have an exact date. He is optimistic about the chances that the recount will change the results in his favor. "Maybe there are some more votes in there that haven't been counted yet," he said.
Goree said she was not surprised by Davis' decision to ask for a recount, and would likely have done the same, if the outcome were reversed. She said, however, that she was more concerned with the district's accreditation crisis, because her son is a senior this year at North Clayton High School.
Goree believes she led the absentee and advance voters because she targeted the people she believed would be more likely to vote before Aug. 5, retirees and senior citizens.
"The people who vote in advance, or by absentee ballot, are probably the people who researched the candidates thoroughly," she said.