Update, Aug. 17: Stacy Hall, a candidate in the Georgia Senate District 50 runoff, said he intends to ask for a recount of votes due to the close margin in the race.
As of Monday morning, the race was separated by only 40 votes.
Hall had 12,448 votes, or 49.92%, while opponent Bo Hatchett had 12,488, or 50.08%, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.
“First, I want to thank the 12,448 Northeast Georgians who cast their vote for me in the State Senate District 50 runoff. I remain grateful and humbled,” Hall said in a statement. “With nearly 25,000 total votes cast and only 0.16% difference between the two candidates, it’s reasonable and prudent to request a recount so that all parties involved can be confident in the final count.”
Candidates can request a recount within two days of the state certifying an election if the difference in votes is 0.5% or less.
“Now that the counties have certified their results, my intent is to request a recount as soon as the state certifies the election,” Hall said. “This has been a very long election for everyone and I have no desire to drag it out, but with only 40 votes separating us out of nearly 25,000, I think a recount is wise so we can move forward confidently. I appreciate the patience of everyone in the district as we work to ensure confidence in the final results.”
Previous story: With a few ballots left to count and a race separated by only 40 votes as of Friday, the state Senate District 50 Republican runoff was still too close to call.
Each candidate held about 50% of the votes Friday, according to the Secretary of State’s office.
Stacy Hall, who is chairman of the Habersham County Board of Commissioners and owns a real estate development business, earned 12,448 votes, or 49.92% by Friday, while Cornelia attorney and real estate businessman Bo Hatchett earned 12,488, or 50.08%.
A call has been scheduled for Monday, Aug. 17, with county elections offices and the Georgia Secretary of State's Office to discuss a recount.
District 50 includes Banks, Franklin, Habersham, Stephens and Towns counties along with part of east Hall and north Jackson counties.
While no recount has been set, the Secretary of State's Office organized the call due to the close margin in the race, according to a spokesman for the Secretary of State's Office.
To request a recount, candidates must be in a race with a margin between candidates of a half-percent or less, and the candidate must submit a request in writing within two days of the election being certified. There are no regulations in Georgia that would trigger an automatic recount, according to a spokesman for the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.
Hall said Wednesday that he had been communicating with county elections offices and learned that some absentee, provisional and overseas ballots still needed to be counted.
Results as of Friday
Stacy Hall: 49.93%, or 12,448 votes
Bo Hatchett: 50.07%, or 12,482 votes
Provisional ballots are used to record a vote when there are questions about a voter's eligibility such as issues with a valid photo ID or a name not appearing on a list of registered voters, according to the Secretary of State’s website.
"With nearly 25,000 votes cast and only 34 votes being the difference currently (at the time of the interview), and with many more than that difference in ballots still to be counted, we're just going to kind of wait and see and let them finish counting," he said.
Hatchett thanked his supporters and campaign volunteers but remained cautious in light of the slim lead he held.
“This was a highly competitive race, and we feel good about where we are right now,” he said in a statement. “We believe people in each election commission office will do their due diligence and make sure every vote is counted, and we are hopeful at the end of the day we will be victorious.”
Hall certified the county’s election results Friday.
A recount could be finished within a day for this race in Hall, Elections Director Lori Wurtz said.
Incumbent State Sen. John Wilkinson, R-Toccoa, did not seek reelection so he could run instead for Georgia’s 9th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, which he lost in a crowded primary.