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Runoff chosen as method to decide city council tie
Date to vote again for Post 1 race: Dec. 5
Election board
Members of Forsyth County's Board of Voter Registrations (left-to-right: Randy Ingram, Matthew Blender, Chairman Donald Glover and Carla Radzikinas) count ballots at an election certification event on Monday.

After the discovery this week that two candidates for the Post 1 Cumming City Council race received the same number of votes, the election is headed to a runoff.

A runoff between Incumbent Chuck Welch and challenger Chad Crane will be held on Dec. 5 after it was discovered each candidate received 441 votes for the Nov. 7 election at a Forsyth County Board of Voter Registrations and Elections event to certify three city of Cumming elections and a special election for state House District 26 on Monday.

There was some confusion initially following the meeting as to what would come next since the city charter does not say what to do if a tie is reached.

Barbara Luth, elections supervisor of Forsyth County’s department of voter registrations and elections, said on Wednesday the runoff is called for by state rules.

“The city charter does not have a provision for an exact tie, it only has plurality, which means the one with the most votes wins,” she said. “There is a provision in the state code that says that we do have to have a runoff.”

Advance voting for the runoff will be held 8a.m.-5p.m. on Nov. 27-Dec. 1, and election day voting hours will be 7 a.m.-7 p.m. All voting for the election will take place at Cumming City Hall.

Voters who applied for and mailed back an absentee ballot will be required to fill out a new application for the runoff.

Crane was found to be the winner by three votes last week after he received 441 votes to Welch’s 438.

On Monday, two mail-in ballots and one paper ballot were found to be in favor of Welch. The paper ballot was apparently not correctly bubbled in, according to an elections official, which initially caused some confusion.

Both candidates said they were confident in their chances earlier this week.

Welch said on Tuesday he was happy about the updated numbers and was confident in his chances in a runoff.

“I’m glad it’s a tie because I love being a city councilman and serving the people in the city of Cumming,” Welch said. “You never think something like this could ever be a tie, but I’m thankful it is and I’m looking forward to getting the victory on Dec. 5.”

Reached Tuesday morning, Crane said he believed city residents had voted for a change and he could help make it happen.

“I'm excited for the challenge; I look forward to the runoff,” Crane said. “That's one of the things that makes this country great is that we have fair and honest elections. Hats off to the election committee for putting in the extra time and finding out the correct and accurate numbers of votes.”