Two Fairmont City Council seats are changing hands after the Marion County Clerk’s Office counted an additional 57 ballots on Friday.
After reports surfaced in mid December of 57 Marion County ballots from a single voting machine in the 36th precinct being uncounted, Secretary of State Mac Warner petitioned for a state sanctioned recounting process, which Judge Patrick Wilson approved.
In the 1st District, Josh Rice is now the winner of that race with 1,734 votes to Marcella Yaremchuk’s 1,728 votes. That race was declared a tie initially, and Yaremchuk won the seat on a coin flip.
“After all this is come, and the voters, the people, their words were heard and their votes counted. You know it prevailed and it feels good.” said Rice.
“When I thought that I was the winner, I told him [Rice] to please let me know what’s happening in his neighborhood, and so now when he’s declared the winner, he said the same thing to me. Let’s stay involved and know what’s happening in our neighborhood so that we can, he can, and we can all represent the people in our district.”
In the 5th District, Barry Bledsoe has won for the second time. Bledsoe initially won the seat by one vote after canvassing, but Houston Richardson asked for a recount, which showed that the race was tied. Richardson then won the seat via tiebreaker. After election officials added in the extra ballots, Bledsoe defeated Richardson 883 to 880.
Regardless of what the outcome would have been, I have full faith in our system, like Randy Elliot said I believe we have about 280 machines and this is the first time that this has happen to my knowledge in the 18 years of using them.” said Bledsoe. “I’m glad I won, you know I want to do some things in Fairmont, hopefully see some changes, but more than anything I’m just glad that the voters’ voice was heard. That to me was more important than even winning.”
Candidates will have a 48 hour period to ask for a recount, with a 10 day conclusion following the 48 hours to contest the election results.