Bessemer mayor calls challenger's request for recount "sour grapes"
Bessemer's mayoral race is not over.
Challenger Anthony Underwood lost to incumbent Mayor Kenneth Gulley by more than 1,000 votes. But he believes the voting process was so flawed he's requested a recount.
On election day, at least two precincts opened late.
Underwood's biggest concern is about the voting machines. One machine did malfunction at the civic center, but a second machine continued operating there.
"My biggest concern when I look at all the mistakes, all the break downs, all the chaos, on that particular day is that perhaps there was some impropriety either by accident or intentionally," said Underwood.
Underwood received just 40 percent of the vote.
Tuesday, Bessemer City Council certified the election results.
Underwood immediately handed in a request for a recount.
"We think that for the city to conduct their own election with the people who are running for those positions obviously are forced to be in charge of that election, so we think that's a grave conflict of interest," said Underwood.
The city clerk, who was appointed by Mayor Kenneth Gulley, oversaw the election.
Bessemer used new voting machines because the county did not provide them this year.
"My biggest worry is that there's a grave problem," said Underwood. "On the website it says this particular machine should be outlawed."
The county uses the same machine vendor the city used and says it hasn't had problems.
Assistant City Attorney Roderick Evans insists everything was done by the book.
"The machines were from ES &S, and there was, we followed everything according to the statute and there was a test as required," explained Evans.
Mayor Gulley says he wants to move forward, "Sour grapes. Obviously, when you lose by that great of a margin, you know, unfortunately you come in but the people have spoken."
Underwood wants the mayor and a representative from Jefferson County to be present at the recount.
Bessemer's legal team expects the recount to happen within a day or two, once they calculate the cost of the re-count.
Underwood says he is willing to pay. The city doesn't have an exact cost but estimates it to be about $30,000.