By Robert Carter
Special elections for three Birmingham City Council seats, plus renewals for three ad valorem taxes, will not have results declared until Wednesday because of an error in the handling of electronic machine memory cards at three different precincts.
The cards from the Martha Gaskins School, Robinson Elementary School and Five Points West precincts were sealed inside boxes that contained the paper ballots filled out by voters. Officials with the Birmingham City Clerk’s office said the cards could not be retrieved from the boxes until a judge issues a court order that allows it. Provisional votes are not included as well.
Rick Journey, the director of communications for Birmingham City, said Judge Joseph L. Boohaker ordered the boxes to be opened Wednesday at 3 p.m. He said they will resume counting the votes when the memory cards are retrieved.
But the missing precincts could have effects in two of the three council races. In District 6, incumbent Crystal Smitherman had garnered 51.49% of the vote in a seven-candidate field; if her total remains at or above 50% plus one vote, she will win outright and avoid a runoff election next month. In District 7, a runoff is likely, with incumbent Wardine Towers Alexander in first place with 42.46% of the vote. Her runoff opponent would be either Ray Brooks or Lonnie Franklin Malone, with Brooks holding a 63-vote lead.
The District 1 race has been decided, with incumbent Clinton Woods getting more than 70 percent of the vote in a three-candidate race.
The three propositions to renew separate ad valorem taxes all passed by wide margins, with those voting yes in each race amounting to 85% or more of the vote.
Sherman Collins Jr. 633 27.50
Haki Jamaal Muhammad 37 1.65
Clinton Woods 1,631 70.85
Willine Body 49 1.97
Carlos Chaverst 348 14
LaTanya Millhouse 264 10.62
Clarence Muhammad 126 5.07
Crystal Smitherman 1,280 51.49%
Keith O. Williams 378 15.21
Onoyemi “Oni” Williams 41 1.65
Wardine Towers Alexander 1,103 42.46
Ray Brooks 779 29.98
Lonnie Franklin Malone 716 27.56
Proposition 1 (66 of 69 boxes in)
Yes 13,512 No 1,482
Proposition 2 (66 of 69 boxes in)
Yes 13,487 No 1,489
Proposition 3 (66 of 69 boxes in)
Yes 13,361 No 1,613