19 Aug 2013
- Written by Tri-State Defender Newsroom
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A new election has been ordered in the School Board District 4 race, upholding a challenge to the Aug. 2, 2012 contest by longtime School board Commissioner Dr. Kenneth T. Whalum Jr.
Kevin Woods was declared the winner in the race by virtue of a 106-vote margin of victory. Whalum challenged the results. Whalum based his challenge on the assertion that the Election Commission erroneously assigned voters who lived in District 4 to other district races and also assigned voters to District 4 who did not live in the district.
Chancellor Kenny Armstrong ruled that no fraud had been committed, but said fraud was not a necessary element to invalidate the election.
"The combination of illegal votes cast that cannot be assigned and legal votes excluded creates clear uncertainty about the election outcome in the District 4 race if the election had been conducted properly," Armstrong concluded.
Although the mistakes were "honest" and "not intentional," Armstrong opined, "they cannot be simply ignored. ..."
Without a new election, there always would be "legitimate questions" about the winner, Armstrong said in his ruling.
The bottom line? The Court was left with "no alternative except to order a new election in the race."