Election officials in Phenix City today began striking through the name of Councilman Arthur L. Sumbry Sr. on 5,000 ballots affected by his last-minute withdrawal.
City Clerk Charlotte Sierra, who is overseeing election preparations, said paper ballots with Sumbry's name crossed out caused no issues when processed through a ballot counter.
“We tested the ballots with the name stricken and everything came out OK," Sierra said. "We are now taking a pen and drawing a line through it, and I’m using the same kind of pen to draw a line through that we used to test this morning."
With no explanation, Sumbry, 71, ended his re-election bid Wednesday and endorsed his son, Arttie Pontez Sumbry, who had already qualified in the race. Arthur Sumbry is under indictment on felony charges of perjury and forgery, but his defense attorney said the withdrawal was unrelated to his case.
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The District 3 race now features five candidates.
Arthur Sumbry's decision caused some concern because the ballots ordered by the city contained his name. “All eyes are on this election," Sierra said.
The city has some 15,000 ballots for Tuesday's election -- 5,000 for each of the three districts. Only District 3 ballots were affected by Arthur Sumbry's withdrawal.
Alabama law says that "Any candidate may withdraw as a candidate by giving written notice to the mayor, at any time, prior to the date of the election."
"If a candidate withdraws, as herein provided, the election officials shall, if paper ballots are used in the election, draw a line in ink through the name of such candidate."
Sierra said any absentee ballots cast for Arthur Sumbry won't count toward the final results. "Those votes have been cast," she said. "There’s nothing we can do about it.”
Sierra said officials are keeping an eye on Tropical Storm Isaac, which is churning through the Caribbean and could bring rain to the Chattahoochee Valley next week. Polls are open Tuesday from 7 a.m. EDT to 7 p.m. EDT.