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Challenged ballots hold up winner in Morris-Chance race
Incumbent Morris leads 363-328 with 93 challenged ballots not counted
John Morris MugWeb
John Morris

whats next in election

What comes next with voter challenges

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            After hours of waiting for results Tuesday night, Travis Chance and John Morris will have to wait a little longer.

            Morris held a slight edge of 363 votes to Chance's 328, but 93 votes are being challenged in District 5. Six voters cast provisional ballots.

            "A little disappointed that we didn't get more turnout to the polls," said Morris, 43, the incumbent. "I guess we'll just see where these challenges stand and then go from there. I felt like I would have had a considerable amount more (votes) than what I got."

            Two weeks ago, a group called the Statesboro Citizens for Good Government filed petitions challenging the veracity of 909 Georgia Southern students who registered to vote after Sept. 1.

            Nancy Waters, a member of the citizens' group and a member of the city's Alcohol Control Board, said the group planned to move ahead with the challenges and would consult with its attorney today.

            A crowded courthouse received District 5 totals at around 10:20 p.m., three hours after polls closed.

            "Statesboro voted their conscience," said Chance, the challenger. "We'll see what happens. I still think the students deserve the right to vote and we're going to see what happens when the challenges come back."

            Deputy Registrar Shontay Jones said that the Bulloch County Board of Registrars will meet today to discuss moving forward with the hearings for challenged voters. Jones also said the Board will likely focus on those challenges where the race is still undetermined.

            Close to 800 votes were cast in District 5. Chance led early voting 188-120 while Morris dominated on Election Day 243-140. Fifty nine votes were challenged during early voting while 34 were challenged on Tuesday. Morris needs 33 of the remaining 99 votes to win.

            "I know my two children are in that pile (of challenged votes)," said Morris. "I guess it's anybody's game. I knew I had some supporters from the (Student Government Association) at Georgia Southern so we'll just have to see."

            Chance, 29, said all there's left to do now is wait.

            "Just hope justice prevails and the people that exercised their constitutional right to vote are actually counted," he said.

            Earlier in the day citizens of Statesboro came and went at the Honey Bowen Building, the designated polling place for District 5.

            Two students who completed their ballots around 12:30 p.m. left with strong opinions on the election itself.

            "I think I should be able to vote just like everybody else can," said Jessa Herrin, 19, from Brantley County. Herrin was also upset when she was told her vote would be challenged. "I live here, too, and I voted for the person who I believe is on our side and who will represent us better."

            Stephanie Tello, from Clayton County, had no problems during the voting process. She did have a problem with citizens taking issue with students voting.

            "I think it's crap," said the 21-year-old. "The main population of Statesboro is students. Students should have a say. There's things that we need, too, and it's not fair that the elder community gets to decide, 'Uh, no they're silly college students they don't know any better.' We do, we're adults too. We're making it, we're living, we're going."

            Fifty-three-year-old veteran Don Poe said he was out to vote for the candidate that best represented who he was. Poe was also conscious of the controversy surrounding student voter rights and issues involving alcohol.

            "I think it's the growing pains of the city," said Poe. "It's going to grow one way or the other and you just got to vote for which way you think is important."

            Many of the voters who were students made their way to the polls by themselves or were dropped off by shuttles from campus.

            Jim and Susan Darrell came out on Tuesday because they said they vote in every election. Jim said he placed his vote for the incumbent because, "He's served us well and he's taken care of us."

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