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Snellville to recount close race

LAWRENCEVILLE -- For the third time in three years in Gwinnett, and the second time in Snellville, officials are expected to recount ballots.

Niria Baggett, an attorney who came in seven votes shy of incumbent Barbara Bender in a council race Tuesday, said she would file paperwork today.

"I want to make sure it's done correctly," Baggett said. "Whoever wins fair and square, that should be the person who serves."

City Clerk Melisa Arnold said a recount is not surprising when the race is so close. The city also performed a recount two years ago, when only 19 votes separated Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer from challenger Bruce Garraway.

Last year, a recount was held to determine a runoff after the District 1 county commission primary.

This week's outcome was certified Wednesday. Arnold said officials approved a provisional ballot, which widened Bender's lead by one vote, making the official vote of 947 to 940.

In Lawrenceville and Duluth, council seats will wait even longer for a final determination.

There, no candidate in both cities' vacant Post 3 races were able to reach the necessary majority.

The Dec. 1 runoff will pit Katie Smith against John Merrill in Lawrenceville and Billy Jones against Elise Whitworth in Duluth.