Winner declared in Blytheville mayoral race
BLYTHEVILLE, Ark. (KAIT) - There is a new mayor in town.
After a recount, a winner was finally named in the Blytheville mayoral race, a week after election day.
“We had a recount yesterday, we finished the recount last night, Wednesday at approximately 8:15, 8:30,” said Thomas Wiktorek, Chairman of the Mississippi County Election Commission.
The road was long for the seven candidates and the commission to get to a final answer on who would serve as the new mayor of Blytheville.
After calling for a run-off and then recounting votes, the election commission named a winner for the Blytheville mayoral race: Melisa Logan.
Wiktorek said absentee ballots were the culprit of the hold-up.
“However there were several of the absentee ballots that had some deficiencies that needed further review. Like having the county clerk see if they had a registration or not or see if they had a photo ID,” he said.
After unofficial early votes, election day votes, and absentee ballots were in, they still had to go through the absentee ballots that needed further review. This is where the questions about a run-off started.
“In processing those votes, we accepted identification using a utility bill for an absentee ballot. Which is a very limited instance is legal, but in others it’s not,” he said. “We included them, but there was an objection made that we were using them, so we pulled two ballots out. But then we were instructed by the secretary of state to put the ballots back in. It kept constantly changing, whether we needed a runoff or we didn’t need a runoff.”
Wiktorek said it was his error that utility bills were used for identification for the absentee ballots under review.
He further explained the root of the issue was people taking advantage of absentee ballots.
“Our problem in Mississippi County is that we have too many people that are getting an absentee ballot for some reason or other than they are not instructed properly or they can’t follow the instructions to get the ballot counted,” Wiktorek said.
After the recount, the final official results were in for all the candidates:
- Melisa Logan – 1,034
- John Mayberry – 599
- John Musgraves – 248
- Juanita V. Jackson – 55
- Ronnie Hayse – 91
- Jacqueline ‘Jackie’ Welspom – 12
- Barbara McAdoo-Brothers – 530
Wiktorek explained the results for the two candidates that were once up for a run-off, Melisa Logan and John Mayberry.
“In order to win the race the first person had to have at least 40% and the second person had to be within 20% of that total. Melisa Logan’s percentage was 42.49%. Mr. Mayberry’s percentage was 22.44%. So, it is .05 percent which makes Melisa Logan the winner,” he said.
Melisa Logan, mayor-elect for the city of Blytheville, said she is ready for this new journey.
She explained going through this process has now made voter education a priority for her.
WATCH: Blytheville Mayor-elect Melisa Logan speaks on goals
“What counts, what doesn’t count the electoral process has to be something that even a 5-year-old can understand. So, I am going to make it my business, you better believe me going forward that we educate our population how important the use of their voice is,” she said.
Logan will start looking at the various commissions in the city, with one of her main goals being to bring more retail industries into the city and show them what Blytheville can offer.
“With everything you want a sustainability plan. How do we sustain where we are and move forward where it does not cost us much and so that is exactly what I am looking for,” she said. “I am going to be in the market for developers. I need someone to take a good hard look at Blytheville to see how we can partner to get some housing here for the industry that is already here and those that are wanting to come.”
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