Judge orders ballots secured in race for Lexington council, but which ones will be counted?

A Fayette circuit judge ordered that ballots cast in Lexington’s 4th District race in the recent primary election be secured for a recount.

At Friday’s hearing, Fayette Circuit Judge Thomas Travis scheduled a hearing for June 10 to determine when the recount should take place and which ballots will be counted.

On May 17, due to an error with new paper ballots, more than 30 people voted in the wrong council district and more than 30 more people voted in the 4th council district who weren’t supposed to.

The snafu was discovered four hours after voting began and corrected, according to Fayette County Clerk Don Blevins Jr.

The unofficial results show the three candidates in the nonpartisan race were separated by less than 50 votes.

Brenda Monarrez received 1,121 votes, Brack Marquette 908 votes and Barry Saturday 865 votes.

The first two voters go to the general elections in the fall. The council’s 4th District includes an area south of New Circle Road between Nicholaville and Tates Creek roads.

The balloting error only affects the results of the 4th District race.

Anna Whites, Marquette’s lawyer, argued in Friday’s hearing that the 70 votes in question should not be counted in a recount.

“We don’t want to expand (the recount) to 70 votes,” Whites said.

Edward Cooley, who represents Monarrez, echoed the whites’ comments and said he didn’t think the 70 miscast ballots should be counted.

James Yoder, a lawyer for Blevins, said after the hearing that the clerks’ office had not taken a position on which ballots to count. Yoder told Travis on Friday that the clerk’s office does not have to finalize ballots for the November general election until late August or early September. It’s time to sort out the top two voters.

Saturday was not present and did not hire an attorney, according to the court filing.

Travis said he wanted to push the next court hearing to June 10 to ensure that all parties involved have time to respond to the lawsuit.