Hunter wins Newport News school board seat following recount

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by Kaila DeRienzo, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on May 9, 2014 at 7:02 PM

Updated Friday, May 9 at 7:03 PM

NEWPORT NEWS -- Rick Jones was announced the winner of the at-large seat on the Newport News School Board Tuesday night.

On Thursday, he was told by the registrar’s office that he actually didn’t win-- Gary Hunter did. 

According to the city election board, the unofficial results on election day put Jones ahead by 47 votes. But after an official audit, opponent Gary Hunter was declared the winner by 41 votes.

The city says this was all because of some mistakes by poll workers.

"We want to make sure that this is looked into, that it is studied and that it doesn't happen again,” former Newport News School Board member Betty Dixon said. 

She also ran in the election. 

Jones and other school board candidates contacted the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to investigate this election and what went wrong. 

Andrew Shannon, head of the Penninsula Chapter, believes there are major concerns with the Newport News electoral process.

"There's one thing when there's human error and there's one thing when there's a pattern of permanent malfeasance of office,” Shannon said. 

He used the 2012 election as an example. 

"Four precincts opened for three hours and they didn't have candidate ballots, which denied people the right to vote,” Shannon said. 

"If this can happen in a light election, what happens with the presidential elections, gubernatorial elections, and how many times have these mistakes happened,” Dixon said. 

Gary Hunter says there's no way foul play was involved.

"Just like I said previously when I was 47 points behind, and wanted to do a recount, I said I will wait until the final count is in. That's why you wait until the final count is in until you take any action,” Hunter said. 

Shannon says the entire investigation can take anywhere between seven days to an entire month to complete. 

Jones isn’t asking for a recount just yet. but legally has 30 days to make that decision.

 

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