Provisional Vote Count Tuesday

The Republican race for the second spot for Governor is far from over. Now, the party will count what are called provisional ballots. Never before have 1,790 provisional - or contested ballots - been so important in a statewide race. Party leaders around the state will count them Tuesday at noon.

For those who are still not sure how all this plays out, the first step of certifying the votes from last Tuesday's election will take place in the county's election center. The Montgomery County Elections Director Trey Granger points to the tables and chairs in the room and says, "We'll convert this room into a horseshoe tomorrow."

In the past, just one person usually comes from the party to count the provisional votes but not this time.  Granger says members of both parties will be here. "The Democratic party's executive committee will be here from the county. The Republican executive committee will be here and they will both be involved in canvassing their party's provisional ballots and then their total votes." The question was then asked about his involvement in  the vote count. "So, you won't be counting them?" Because the primary is a party function, Granger says "We'll be assisting them."

The Board of Registrars has confirmed just 59 of the 123 provisional ballots cast in Montgomery county are legitimate. They are the only ones that will be counted.  Then, the county executive committees will certify the votes totals to the state executive committee by Wednesday at noon. After that, those totals will go on to the Secretary of State's office where they will be certified by noon on Friday.

The Republican state party chair, Mike Hubbard, called a meeting Monday morning to explain all of that. Third place candidate Tim James was there and second place candidate Robert Bentley and the number one candidate Bradley Byrne sent representatives. Hubbard says, "We wanted to make sure this was open (and) that everybody understood where we're coming from, what we understand the law to be and the time table. And, the fact that we do have to certify the votes Friday at noon, I think everyone agreed that we can have an asterisk by the governor's race and say there is a recount on-going if in fact a candidate does ask for a recount.

According to the Secretary of State, a candidate has just forty-eight hours after the county certifies the vote totals to call for a recount. That recount could be for one, several or all of the 67 counties.

The Secretary of State also says, it's the candidate's responsibility and the cost could run in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, Granger says he interprets the law to mean it's an automatic recount for a primary race if the difference in votes is a certain small percentage. If that's the case, he believes the taxpayers would pay for it.