CHIPLEY — Incumbent Charles Brock was declared the winner of the Washington County County Commissioner District 3 seat Friday following an all-afternoon recount of the county’s more than 10,000 ballots.
Brock, the incumbent in the District 3 seat, had 5,359 votes to Tray Hawkins’ 5,313 Friday after the recount. The results are still unofficial.
Neither Brock nor Hawkins were on hand for the recount, although Brock was at the Supervisor of Elections office earlier in the day, before the recount started. “It’s going to be a long process,” Brock said of the recount. “There are a lot of ballots.”
Of all the races on the ballot in Washington County Tuesday night, none were closer than the race for the County Commissioner District 3 position, which ended the evening with a 39-vote difference — a difference that improved to a 48 point-lead Thursday when the Canvassing Board reconvened to count provisional ballots.
The Canvassing Board met from 5 p.m. until nearly 10 p.m. Thursday going through the provisional ballots. Ultimately they rejected six of the 91 provisional ballots.
Of the remaining 85 provisional ballots, 42 were for Brock, 33 for Hawkins, and 10 were undervotes — ballots on which neither candidate was voted for.
Peel explained that provisional ballots can be caused by voters having expired driver’s licenses when they come to the poll, or having if the voter had moved recently. If a voter has moved, the supervisor of elections’ office has to verify that the person hasn’t voted in their old precinct.
After the recount on Friday, Brock’s lead dropped to 46 votes — a lead which was sufficient that the Supervisor of Elections does not have to perform a manual recount.
“It is greater that 0.25 percent, which would have mandated a manual count,” said Washington County Judge Colby Peel.
“I just want to thank the workers, they really did a great job,” said Peel. “I was afraid this was going to be a two-day job and we’d be here until after midnight.”
“I just wish more people were on hand to witness this,” said Supervisor of Elections Carol Finch Griffin. “I wish more people would come watch the process.”