Senate candidates Franklin Foil, Beverly Thompson head to runoff after recount of mail-in votes

Senate candidates headed to runoff after recount of mail-in votes

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Candidates, Rep. Franklin Foil and Beverly Thompson, are headed to a runoff after a recount of votes.

It’s not often you see the Registrar of Voters Office cutting open boxes to recount paper ballots. However, the process began when Foil requested an official recount of the mail-in ballots after the Oct. 12 election.

Neither Republican candidate was present for the recount, sending teams instead. A Baton Rouge attorney and friend of Foil, Jack Whitehead, applauded the process.

“Today, we’ve seen democracy in action. We’ve seen that it works. We’ve upheld the integrity of the system,” he said.

The recount showed Foil received 605 votes, which was one more than he had originally. Rep. Steve Carter received 448 votes in the recount, down from 451 votes originally. The runoff election will be held between Foil and Democrat Beverly Brooks Thompson.

Foil originally edged out his House seatmate, Carter, by eight votes on Election Night, which would have forced a runoff between Foil and Democratic front-runner, Thompson. Now, there will be a runoff between Foil and Thompson.

Ballots had to be recounted by hand in the Senate District 16 race.
Ballots had to be recounted by hand in the Senate District 16 race. (Source: WAFB)

Whitehead sends best wishes to Carter and Thompson, but believes Foul will be the next District 16 senator.

“Beverly Thompson is a fine lady. She’s a good person, but I think District 16 will keep historically Republican," he said.

A problem with a number of mail-in ballots forced a computerized re-scan, resulting in a tie between the two Republicans.

Registrar of Voters Steve Raborn says it’s been a while since a recount had been conducted in East Baton Rouge Parish.

“It’s a very laborious process and it’s all done by hand,” Raborn said. “It takes a long time to go through sorting all the ballots then hand count them.”

It took over five hours to get the final count. Raborn says that’s to ensure the recount was done correctly.

“You never know what might change with hand-marked paper ballots. Voters don’t always mark the oval on the ballots, so if anything in an election can change, it is hand-marked paper ballots.”

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