LaFayette runoff sees high voter turnout

Published 6:15 pm Wednesday, March 27, 2019

LaFAYETTE — More than 50 percent of the residents of District B in LaFayette went to the polls for Tuedsay’s special election runoff.

There were 183 votes cast Tuesday — 97 for Charlotte Blasingame and 86 for David Ennis — exceeding the 141 votes cast in the special election in February. 

Tuesday’s election was a special election runoff in the middle of a term set to expire in August 2020. In 2016, District B in LaFayette had a total of 192 votes cast in the general election, according to City Clerk Louis Davidson.

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He said there are 340 registered voters in the district.

Davidson said he was excited about the number of people who came out to vote.

“When you include absentee ballots and machine votes, we had larger numbers all around than in the special election,” he said Wednesday. “Anytime people come out and vote, I am ecstatic.”

The results are unofficial until noon on April 1 when the LaFayette City Council will canvass the votes. The candidates will have 48 hours after the votes are made official to contest the results.

Davidson said Tuesday night as he read off the results that there was one provisional ballot that the Chambers Board of Registrar needed to rule on before it could become official. However, no matter which way the one vote goes, Blasingame is still expected to be seated as the city’s next council member. She is scheduled to be sworn in on April 8.

A provisional vote is usually when someone from out of the district attempts to vote in that election but isn’t registered. When the voter says they are registered and the city clerk doesn’t have them on the list as a regular voter in the district, the voter can contest the decision by voting on a provisional ballot. The same process occurs with absentee ballots.

The decision on whether or not those votes count goes to the Board of Registrar.

The special election was necessary due to former City Councilman Mathew Hurst resigning in June to take another job and moving out of the district. In August, several candidates showed interest in the seat, which could have been appointed by the city council.

However, in spite of Mayor Barry Moody recommending Blasingame at the time, the council decided it would be best to hold a special election and let the people vote on their next council representative. During the special election, Blasingame and Ennis were the top two candidates with Shannon Hunter coming in third, but none of the candidates received 50 percent of the vote.

If the council had appointed a candidate in August, the cost would have been minimal to the city. However, because of the special election, Davidson said in a previous interview that the city had to rent three voting machines, hire 11 poll workers, station a police officer and extend the working hours of city employees. Then, because of the runoff, the council had to repeat the process at a similar cost.