HAZLEHURST, GA (WTOC) - Voters in one South Georgia town will go back to the polls to choose a mayor for the second time.
Monday, a judge threw out Hazlehurst's last election after allegations of fraud. The judge's written order said he believed the allegations of vote buying and other irregularities in the Hazlehurst Mayoral election.
So much so he said Hazlehurst voters must come back to the polls and choose who they want for mayor again.
The judge said he believed testimony from two voters who said candidate Bayne Stone's son paid them off the street to go cast ballots. Stone won the race by just two votes over current Mayor Jack Cole.
Cole took the results to court.
"I thought he'd wait another day or two. But I'm really glad he called today and I'm happy with our justice system," said Mayor Cole.
Cole's attorney also called into question nearly a dozen early or absentee ballots that hadn't been signed correctly, including Bayne Stone's. They suggested someone besides the voter filled out the ballot. But Stone told the judge the problem had been poor instructions from the registrar's office.
"Maybe the judge's decision is a good one. Maybe this gives us an opportunity for the people of Hazlehurst to make a more decisive decision on who do they want to be their mayor for the next four years," said Stone.
No word yet on when that election will take place. They've got to give a 30-day notice and give time for early voting.
So it will be early next year. In the meantime, Mayor Cole remains in the office until the voters have the chance to choose.