OPELIKA, Ala. (WRBL) – As demonstrated in the Alabama Senate District 27 race, every vote counts as challenger Jay Hovey beats incumbent Tom Whatley by one vote after a provisional count on Tuesday. Election officials say the provisional ballot count results from the district will be turned over to the state Republican Party for them to certify to the Secretary of State’s Office. After that, Whatley has the option to ask for a recount. 

Whatley and Hovey were neck and neck across the three-county district of Russell, Lee, and Tallapoosa for Alabama State Senate District 27, separated by four votes, with Hovey leading on Election Day. 

Twenty-eight certified provisional ballots in Lee County were counted by the Republican Party that possibly have voted in the District 27 primary. Out of those, six votes went for Whatley and four for Hovey. 

We are told there are no provisional ballots in Russell County that apply to this race. 

Tallapoosa County had 15 provisional ballots – with two votes for Hovey and three for Whatley in the District 27 race. 

It appears Hovey has won by one vote. We are waiting to get a comment from Whatley to see if he will request a recount. Hovey tells News 3 he is delighted. 

If two candidates tie, depending on the race, the local sheriff or Secretary of State would have decided the race by lot, meaning they would flip a coin or draw straws. The procedures are explained in 17-12-23 in the Alabama Code. In this race, Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones says the Republican party chair would have flipped the coin since this election was a party primary.  

If Hovey is certified as the winner he will face democrat and retired U.S. Army veteran Sherri Reese in the November General Election.