Alabama Governor's Race

In an extraordinary close race, Democratic Gov. Don Siegelman and his challenger Republican Bob Riley, are both claiming victory after a dispute arose over the correct vote totals in Baldwin County.

Election officials in Baldwin County originally showed Siegelman with 19,070 votes, but later reduced his tally to 12,736.

The change could be enough to put Riley in the lead in the razor-thin race in which the margin of victory would be only a few thousand out of 1.3 million votes cast.

The dispute threw the tight race into turmoil. Siegelman declared victory at a party in Montgomery, telling supporters "How sweet it is."

Meanwhile, Riley was also declaring himself the victor, telling supporters in Talladega, "We Win. Alabama's got a new day coming."

Baldwin County's initial tally put Siegelman on top 674,052 to 670,913, a margin of 3,139.

That vote total for Siegelman was given in a printout of Baldwin County votes that was provided to news organizations, including the Associated Press.

The revised number put Riley in the lead 670,913 to 667,718, a margin of 3,195.

But Captain Marvin Ussery of the Baldwin County Sheriff's Department said Siegelman's numbers were lowered after voting machine cartridges from polling places were re-run because of a suspected error.

Probate Judge James Reid said the lowered number would be certified as the official result later Monday.

Alabama does not have a law providing for an automatic recount in tight races.

Instead, a voter can seek a recount with each county canvassing board.


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