A judge Tuesday could decide whether the new Macon-Bibb County government needs a new election.
The Macon-Bibb County Board of Elections agrees with Henry Ficklin -- officially, the No. 2 vote-getter in the District 2 commission race -- that the number of people casting ballots in the wrong district exceeds Ficklins 26-vote loss to Larry Schlesinger. Ficklins lawsuit is scheduled to be heard at 1 p.m. Tuesday in Bibb County Superior Court.
Both Ficklin and Schlesinger filed diametrically opposed requests to the court. Schlesinger is asking a judge to uphold the results of the election and throw out Ficklins lawsuit. Ficklin is asking the judge to nullify the Oct. 15 runoff election results and call for a new election. The District 2 runoff was by far the closest of the Oct. 15 races.
The board of elections is saying only that it wants a fair and legal election process, and it is neither trying to call for a new election nor oppose one.
A decision ultimately will be up to Senior Superior Court Judge Stephen E. Boswell, a judge from outside the judicial circuit who had heard and shot down a residency challenge against District 9 Commissioner-elect Al Tillman. State law requires an outside judge be called to oversee such election challenges.
In a news release, the board of elections acknowledged the border between Districts 2 and 3 cuts through an apartment complex, and all of those voters in the complex mistakenly were placed in District 3. The elections board said its state-provided software cant allow voters with the same address to vote in different districts. The Overlook Gardens apartments are near the Gray Highway Wal-Mart, not far from Northeast High School.
Ficklin also is seeking attorneys fees in the case.
One of his attorneys, Jerry Wilson, said this case has been prolonged by the litigiousness of Respondent Larry Schlesinger. Wilson is asking for legal fees of $6,690, though he claims he is due $13,098.40. Ficklins other attorney, Wayne Kendall, also blames Schlesingers stubborn litigiousness for his bills to Ficklin of $13,352.50. Kendall said Ficklin himself is due $711.96 in out-of-pocket litigation costs.
To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.