Hall Puts 'campaign to rest'

The race for State Senate in District 50 is officially over.

In a release yesterday, Stacy Hall conceded the race to Bo Hatchett, an attorney in Cornelia, saying it was “time to put the campaign to rest.”

“Earlier this evening I called to congratulate Bo Hatchett on his victory as the Republican candidate for State Senate District 50,” Hall opened the letter.

Hall requested a recount in the race after the primary runoff on August 11 had him trailing Hatchett by 37 votes. The recount saw Hall gain two votes in Franklin County but lose one in Banks County. Hatchett garnered an additional two votes in Towns County, pushing his final margin of victory to 38 votes.

“They did do the recount quickly and as soon as that was done, I reached out to Bo and congratulated him on his victory and wished him well,” Hall said.

There were no changes to vote totals in Habersham, Hall, Jackson, Stephens or Rabun, the five counties that round out District 50.

‘Major, major serious problems’

In a conversation with WCHM, Hall pointed to what he calls “major, serious problems” at the Stephens County elections office.

In his letter to the Secretary of State’s Office requesting a recount, Hall wrote that he had heard a number of “alarming reports on how absentee ballots were handled in Stephens County for the Aug. 11 election.”

“In my own due diligence, I have confirmed that many, many folks in Stephens County requested absentee ballots and did not receive them and thus, did not vote,” Hall explained.

Hall went on to say he also learned that others received absentee ballots as late as the Monday prior to the election, making it difficult to meet the deadline.

Changes ahead for absentee balloting

Some of the issues with receiving absentee ballots on time may be cleared up by November based on a recent court ruling.

A federal judge on Monday ordered the state to extend the deadline for accepting mail-in ballots. Current Georgia law says ballots must be received by the close of polls on Election Day. Based on the new ruling, as long as the ballot arrives at the elections office within three days following Election Day, it must be counted.