Atlanta voters Nov. 7. JOHN SPINK/JSPINK@AJC.COM

Recount shows Michael Julian Bond might retain Atlanta Council seat

Michael Julian Bond will apparently retain his at-large council seat, but just barely, according to the unofficial results of a Fulton County vote recount on Friday.

For the past couple of weeks, the outcome of the race wasn’t clear. First, there was supposed to be a recount, then a runoff, then a recount again.

Earlier this week, election officials in DeKalb and Fulton counties indicated they included write-in votes in their total tallies. In the razor thin race, that meant that Bond had fallen short of getting a majority of votes, triggering a runoff between Bond and his opponent, Courtney English.

English withdrew his request for a recount.

But according to Robert Highsmith, an attorney representing Bond, write-in votes should not have counted for anything unless they were cast for a certified write-in candidate. He said no candidates were certified as write-ins.

Highsmith, who is also Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s personal attorney, said at a press conference Friday, both state law and a State Supreme Court decision mandated that the write-votes should not be a factor when determining whether one candidate had earned a majority.

“I wouldn’t be out here if I wasn’t really confident that he Fulton and DeKalb board’s of registration will certify these results,” Highsmith said.

Highsmith declined to say who was paying his legal expenses.

On Friday, Fulton County Election Board Spokeswoman April Majors agreed with Highsmith, saying the write-in votes would not be a factor.

English declined to discuss the recount on Friday, his attorney did not return a phone call.

In a press release that same day, the board announced it was proceeding with the recount because no provision in Georgia state law allowed the board to stop the process once it had been initiated.

The recount was completed a little after 5 p.m. Friday, the unofficial results showed that English came within about 320 votes of defeating Bond in a contest in which more than 80,000 people cast ballots.

The Fulton County Board Election Board planned to meet on Saturday at 11 a.m., to discuss and certify the results.

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The AJC’s Stephen Deere keeps you updated on the latest in the Atlanta mayoral race and everything else going on at City Hall. You'll find more on myAJC.com, including these stories:

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