Verification makes little difference

Published 12:35 am Thursday, June 5, 2008

NATCHEZ — The paper ballots have been counted and verified and have created only a slight shift in Tuesday’s unofficial election results.

Recently elected Ward 5 alderman Mark Fortenbery and re-elected Ward 3 alderman Bob Pollard sat in the Adams County Courthouse Wednesday morning watching the affidavit, absentee and curbside ballots being counted.

Only 354 paper ballots were cast for the general election.

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Ward 3 was the closest race of the night, with unofficial results showing Pollard leading by 101 votes over contender Gwen Ball.

The final official results increased Pollard’s lead to 129 votes.

Pollard had 654 votes and 55.47 percent of the vote, while Ball had 525 votes and 44.53 percent.

He said he wasn’t concerned that the paper ballots would swing toward Ball’s favor.

“As a rule of thumb, paper ballots run according to the election, they’re usually about 50-50,” Pollard said.

He said while he wasn’t worried, he just felt like he needed to be there.

“I just wanted to make sure I was present for every vote tallied just like I was after the election,” he said.

He said he was relieved the process was finalized nonetheless.

“I’m glad it’s all over and I’m looking forward to continuing the good work we’ve already started and progressing Natchez forward,” Pollard said.

Fortenbery had no reason for concern as he beat Charles Zuccaro by 391 votes with a total of 81.3 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results.

However, Fortenbery said he wanted to witness the ballots being counted just to see things through to the end of the election.

Official results show Fortenbery’s percentage increased to 81.48 and a total of 508 votes.

Opponent Charles Zuccaro brought in 128 votes, or 18.52 percent of the vote.

In the mayor’s race, Chick Graning gained 141 votes on Jake Middleton, but the total vote difference left Middleton 1,043 votes ahead.

Middleton finished the race with 63.31 percent of the vote. Graning had 36.46 percent.

Graning had a total of 1,416 as opposed to Tuesday’s 1,275.

The hotel proposition got 241 more votes in support of it and 77 more votes against.

This changed the numbers to 2,392 votes for and 954 votes against.

The final percentage was 71.49 percent in support of the hotel tax and 28.51 percent against.

A little over 500 people chose not to cast their electronic ballots for the hotel assessment.

Only 36 people who voted affidavit, absentee or curbside chose to abstain from the vote.