Decided by 7 votes: Alpharetta election not over

Recount of votes underway

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ALPHARETTA, Ga. -- Incumbent Donald Mitchell seems to have edged out challenger Doug DeRito in official poll numbers released by the county over the weekend.

With a margin of seven votes, Mitchell squeaked out the win with 1,079 to 1,072. DeRito has already asked for a recount, which will be held Wednesday, Nov. 13.

The count includes provisional ballots – those that may have errors in them. Of those 23 ballots, only 18 counted and the vote added an additional nine votes for each candidate.

Just under 7 percent of the electorate voted in the election, 2,178 people. There are 31,290 registered voters in the city. The other two incumbents, Chris Owens and Mike Kennedy both ran unopposed.

If there’s one lesson to be learned from this election, Mitchell said it is that each vote really does count.

“Every vote is important. I think [the difference of votes] would have looked a lot different if more people had come out,” he said.

While DeRito said he is ready to concede if the recount confirms his loss, he said the process had to be carried out.

“I don’t anticipate a change,” he said. “I just want to make sure we complete the process of counting the votes and close the book so there is never any question of the results.”

He added there were concerns about absentee ballots. His son was never sent an absentee ballot after the county confirmed it had received his request.

Overall, DeRito said he was proud of the campaign he ran.

“I did a good job,” he said. “If I had a few more days [to campaign], I think it might have been different.”

Two years ago, DeRito gave up his long-held seat to make a bid for mayor, which he lost to David Belle Isle. Mitchell took the seat to fill in the remaining two years of DeRito’s term. If Mitchell is confirmed the winner after the recount, his next four years will be his own.