Political notebook: Norcross candidate looks at options after loss

A day after losing a Norcross City Council runoff by one vote, Michelle "Shelley" Crofton said she's weighing her options on what to do about the controversial ballot.

After a hand count of the 805 ballots Tuesday night, Crofton appeared to be in a tie with businessman Ross Kaul, with nine ballots considered spoiled.

But elections officials, including City Clerk Susan Wuerzner, investigated those spoiled ballots. They determined eight had no vote in that council race, one of two to end in a runoff. The ninth ballot, though, had marks beside both Kaul's and Crofton's names.

With a ballot that instructs voters to place a cross or a check beside the candidate of their choice, Wuerzner said a full X was beside Kaul's name, while the mark beside Crofton had half of the X with a squiggly line through it, as if to mark the line out.

The city attorney was called to City Hall Tuesday night, and he determined the vote was meant for Kaul.

Crofton said she is trying to determine what to do about the situation. She can file an objection or ask for a recount until 6:30 p.m. Monday, when the results will be certified at a special called meeting of the City Council.

"We don't know," Crofton said Wednesday. "We are physically and mentally exhausted. We are researching our options now."

Kaul said he has empathy for the situation, but he thought the ballot was clear.

"I told my parents it would be close, but I didn't think it would be that close," he said. "I just have to wait and see."

Kaul said he wants to see the city continue its quality of life despite the economic forces facing the entire country.

"Now, I've got my hands full," he said. "We've got to pull Norcross together and move forward."

Commissioners make wager over football

Commissioners Lorraine Green and Mike Beaudreau made a friendly bet this week, but not about politics.

Green called out Beaudreau during Tuesday's public meeting, asking him if he wanted to make a bet over Friday's high school football game, a matchup between Peachtree Ridge, which is in Green's district, and Grayson, which is in Beaudreau's.

If Peachtree Ridge wins, Green invited Beaudreau to the high school for a lunch prepared by the kids.

What if Grayson wins? Beaudreau asked during the televised meeting. "You want a live ram in your front yard for one day?"

Green laughed and said the goat could eat the leaves and save her the trouble of raking, but later Beaudreau said if the ram was a problem, he would take her to lunch at Grayson High.

"What's the line on that?" Commissioner Kevin Kenerly said with a laugh after the wager was made.

The winner of Friday's game will play in the state championship at the Georgia Dome on Dec. 13.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.