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Mix up with ballots resolved

POSTED: July 18, 2012 4:00 a.m.

A mix up at the polls in which seven county voters cast ballots in the city's special election for mayor has been resolved.

Election Supervisor Glenda Ferguson said she learned of the mistake shortly before noon July 9, the first day of early voting for the July 31 general primary.

"A voter brought it to our attention that he received the wrong ballot before casting his ballot about 11:40 a.m. and that ballot was cancelled appropriately," Ferguson said.

However, there were seven voters that cast the wrong ballots before the mistake was discovered.

"We were able to recognize who those seven were and contacted each of them," Ferguson said.

Acting Mayor James Grogan and former City Councilman Calvin Byrd are seeking the city's top elected position to fill the unexpired term of the late Joe Lane Cox, who died in March.

The candidates, attorneys for the city and county, as well as the board of elections and Secretary of State's office were also notified of the mishap.

According to Ferguson, the voters were inadvertently given "central city" ballots, which includes Dawsonville's mayor race, instead of "central county" ballots.

"The end results only affects the mayoral special election, and only then if there is a difference of seven or less votes between the two candidates," Ferguson said. "Should this be the case, the present election would be void and enough time is given to call for a special election to fill the vacancy of mayor on the Nov. 6, 2012 General Election ballot."

Ferguson assured voters this was an isolated incident and precautions are in place to ensure accuracy moving forward in the election process.

In addition to required training and instruction, poll workers are now given daily overviews, she said.

Prior to July 2011, the city handled its own elections, but opted on a contract for the county election's office to oversee municipal elections as a cost saving measure.

The change also means city residents cast votes at one location rather than having to go to two different places on Election Day as was the case in prior municipal elections.

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