Marthalie Porter has requested to examine ballot boxes from Tuesday’s election after she lost by six votes to Stephen Jones in the race to represent Ward 5 on the Columbus City Council.
Jones beat Porter with 451 votes to 445 in the runoff election Tuesday.
Porter told The Dispatch on Thursday afternoon that she had submitted a request to the city. She said she will deliver a notice of her request to Jones.
“It was so close,” Porter said. “It was only six votes. In a lot of places, or states, they have an auto-recount when it’s within a few votes. For myself and the voters, I think it’s a good thing to take a look, just to ensure that everything lines up.”
Officials hand-counted the ballots in Tuesday’s election.
Porter’s box examination is scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday, March 14. Jones is set to be sworn in to the council the same day at 10:30 a.m.
Joe Dillon, the city’s public information officer, said state election code does not have any rules regarding a recount, as many other states do. Dillon said officials will open the boxes for Porter to examine as she wishes. He added that a representative from Jones’ campaign will be present during the examination.
Dillon said if Porter finds something she wants to challenge, she could file a lawsuit in the circuit court and ask for any number of outcomes, including for the election to be overturned, asking to be declared the winner or asking for a new election.
Dillon noted that Porter’s request for examination does not change the outcome of the election.
“No matter what the examination shows on that Monday, the election is final,” he said. “It’s like an athletic event once it’s completed. It’s still considered final once it’s certified, and it has been as of Wednesday.”
Porter said she doesn’t expect the examination to change the election’s outcome.
“I anticipate it will wind up the same way,” she said. “It will just be good to follow through with the process that’s there.”
The election was held to find a councilman to serve out Kabir Karriem’s post on the council. Karriem stepped down in late December after being voted into the Legislature.
Alex Holloway was formerly a reporter with The Dispatch.
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