Secretary of State's announcement about GOP Gov. race coming soon

Posted by Tom Ensey -  email

A handful of provisional ballots that have not yet been counted could change the face of the GOP runoff election between Bradley Byrne and either Robert Bentley or Tim James.

Alabama Secretary of State Beth Chapman, the state's highest official overseeing elections, said provisional ballots have yet to be counted in the Republican primary, where Bentley leads Tim James by a razor-thin margin for second place and a right to face Byrne in the July 13 runoff.

She told WSFA 12 News on Wednesday morning that her office would soon call a news conference or issue a press release to explain processes that could yet affect the outcome.

Provisional ballots have yet to be counted, she said, and the deadline for counting those ballots is noon, a week after the election. Since Bentley leads James by only 140 votes, the provisional ballots could affect the outcome.

James told his supporters Tuesday night that the provisional ballots gave his campaign hope, and that there were 100 uncounted ballots in Baldwin County alone.

"Beth Chapman will do a full recount to make sure there are no mathematical errors," he told the crowd. "The provisional ballots are not counted unless there's a super-close race. Until every vote is accounted for, this race is alive and well."

James said he expected the outcome to be determined quickly.

Chapman called it "A detailed process. She said she would hold a meeting this morning to go over those details and talk to both candidates to make sure they were fully informed before making a public statement.

"We will do everything by the book, by the law," she said.

She also addressed a couple of voting fraud complaints her office took on Election Day. Several counties reported people being told they had already voted absentee, and they claimed they did not vote absentee. Those people were allowed to cast provisional ballots, she said.

That's one of the situations her office must address, along with isolated claims of allegations of money and food stamps being offered to individuals in return for their votes.

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