L.J. Bryant, the Grubbs Democrat who finished election night trailing House District 52 opponent John Hutchison, a Republican from Harrisburg, by 44 votes, says he’s formally requested a recount of ballots in the four counties the district covers.
I just faxed a request to all four county election commissions requesting a recount. I’m on my lunch break at work so I have to just be brief.
I’m extremely thankful for the support of folks across District 52. This razor thin election has caused many to want me to request a recount. We may get more votes and win or less votes in said recount. No one distrusts the process; however, when it is this close we wanted to ensure the folks of District 52 and Arkansas that there were no doubts about the outcome.”
The district covers parts of Craighead, Poinsett, Jackson and Independence counties. Democratic officials had said earlier that Bryant had questions about a batch of provisional ballots in Craighead County (which went strongly for Hutchison), but the Republican secretary of state’s office has said most of those questions were resolved and the legal ballots were included in reported totals. Much of the voting was electronic, so Republicans have said there’s little chance of a change in the total. Computers don’t make mistakes, right? Paper trails are required on electronic vote machines. I’ve asked Bryant if his request includes wanting a count of that backup record. UPDATE: Yep, he wants a review of all aspects of the vote, including the challenge process noted in Craighead.
A different outcome in this race would, of course, leave the Republicans without a 51-vote majority in the House. Bryant’s request for a recount also complicates the Republican Party’s desire to circumvent the provisions in state law and designate a new Republican House speaker tomorrow over the Democrat designated when the majority of the House was Democratic.
UPDATE: The Republican Party reacts to a legitimate request in the democratic process with Breitbartian blather. They’ll protect THEIR votes. Yours, they’re not so worried about.
Republican Party of Arkansas Communications Director Katherine Vasilos released the following statement in response to a recount in the House District 52 race as requested by defeated Democrat LJ Bryant:
“State Republican Party Chairman Doyle Webb has mobilized a legal team to monitor the recount and protect the vote of Arkansans in District 52 who chose a Republican to represent their common sense conservative values. We look forward to an efficient process so that the state House of Representatives can begin planning for a successful session under the bold leadership of Arkansas Republicans.