Jessamine County

Recount scheduled in Nicholasville race with margin of one vote

NICHOLASVILLE — A recount of the results in the Nov. 2 race for Nicholasville city commissioner will begin Monday, according to a tentative schedule approved Tuesday by a judge.

The recount was sought by incumbent commissioner Betty Black, who questioned the Jessamine County Board of Election's results that showed her losing re-election by one vote to incumbent Commissioner Johnny Collier.

There were seven nonpartisan candidates for city commissioner in the general election, and voters could vote for as many as four. The top four vote-getters won election to the commission.

A recanvass on Nov. 12, a machine-by-machine examination of vote totals, showed that Black received 3,471 votes while Collier received 3,472.

The recount is a more time-intensive procedure that involves counting all the votes again. That could take as long as three days and will cost an estimated $4,000. Black paid a bond of that amount Tuesday to cover for the cost, as required by law.

A recanvass is a common procedure but a recount is more rare. Jessamine County Clerk Eva McDaniel said there has not been a recount in Jessamine County in her 19 years as clerk.

The recount is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Monday in the circuit courtroom on the second floor of the county courthouse.

The four members of the board of elections will be present at the recount, as well as three people who will act as tabulators or counters. In addition, technicians for Harp Enterprises Inc, the Lexington company that provided Jessamine County's voting machines, will be present to retrieve the votes from the machines.

All those people must be paid for their time at prescribed rates, which accounts for the cost of the recount.

At the direction of Jessamine Circuit Court Judge Hunter Daugherty, all the machines on which city votes were counted have been put at the back the circuit courtroom and are surrounded by yellow tape. The room has been locked when it is not occupied.

Daugherty denied a motion to seek another procedure called a contest, in which a candidate challenges the validity of an election on the grounds of fraud. Daugherty said there was not sufficient evidence of fraud in the city commission election to warrant a contest.

In addition, the reasons for seeking a contest were not stated in the petition submitted by Mike Hamilton, Black's attorney.