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franklin county times

Attorney asks for recount in Hodges

By Staff
Melissa Cason
HODGES – A Florence attorney said Tuesday that he will ask for a recount of votes from last week's municipal election in Hodges.
Steve Graham said he will file a petition for a recount with the town clerk of Hodges.
The ballots were certified Tuesday morning at the town hall.
"The council did not give anyone an opportunity for comments before the vote was taken so I decided not to address the council today," Graham said after the meeting in which the ballots were certified.
Graham said mayoral candidate Nick Howard approached him last week about contesting the election.
"He had some concerns about the way the election was handled," Graham said.
"We have a list of reasons for these concerns."
Graham said the list of concerns includes the town not publishing the voter's list until the night before the election; two to three people living outside the town were permitted to vote; two people who live inside the town were not allowed to vote even on a provisional ballot; the refusal to give a voter an absentee ballot; and Russellville addresses on returned absentee ballots.
"All of these things raise some concern that the election wasn't handled just right," Graham said.
"We want to make sure there was a fair election held and we intend to do so even if it means contesting the election."
While Howard and his attorney are seeking answers, longtime residents are not far behind.
Some town residents are asking about different aspects of the election, including Ed Fleming.
"I have lived in Hodges for 75 years and have never seen an election be held like this one," Fleming said.
"I want to make sure it was done right, and we need to do everything we can to make sure it is made right."
Curtis Swinney, another Hodges resident, questioned why it took officials more than an hour to count 105 votes.
"It has never taken more than 15 minutes to get the returns before," he said. "What took them so long?"
Swinney and Fleming also have questions about the closeness of the election.
"We've never had a turnout like this before," Swinney said.
Graham said once the petition for a recount has been filed, the town has 24 hours for the recount to take place, and each party has the right to be there.
But, he admits it's still early in the process and more investigation into other allegations needs to be conducted.
"This is just the first step in the process," Graham said.
"My client has the support of several residents here in Hodges to do what is necessary to make sure the election was conducted correctly."
Mayor Ed Crouch released a statement Tuesday afternoon concerning the situation.
"I have been told that the election results have been questioned," Crouch said.
"I would like to state that I have not committed any illegal acts nor encouraged anyone else to commit any illegal acts that would affect the municipal election of Aug. 26, 2008."