RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - In the race for the hotly-contested first district city council seat every vote has been recounted and the results remain the same: Jon Baliles is the proclaimed winner.
Incumbent Bruce Tyler filed suit contesting the November election results in which Baliles beat Tyler by 22 votes. After the recount the margin got even smaller, just 20 votes separate the candidates.
Bruce Tyler was not present for the day-long recount at Richmond Circuit Court. If he wishes to keep up the fight, he can take it to city council. The city charter gives council the power to decide. If Tyler loses then, he can appeal to circuit court.
Wednesday night Jon Baliles, a former city employee and son of former Governor Gerald Baliles, was again pronounced the winner in the 1st district. Baliles says two votes changed. A hand ballot was changed to Bruce Tyler. Another vote was challenged. Both ovals were filled out. There was 'x' through Tyler's. The court decided it would not speculate on the voter's intent so, the ballot was thrown out.
The final tally: 6,339 votes for Baliles and 6,319 for Tyler.
"I feel really good. It's an exciting time in the city and I'm really looking forward to serving for the next four years," said Jon Baliles. "Election night's been a month and a half but the recount is over. We welcomed the recount. We followed it through to the end. We didn't think the outcome would change and we're glad it didn't."
Baliles' lawyer argued that the court is not the proper place to address alleged election irregularities. The three judge panel also threw out a separate challenge filed by Bruce Tyler.
The official swearing in for the new city council is Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013 at 4 p.m.