1983 Mayoral election ended in controversy

CIRCLEVILLE – In 1983, incumbent Democratic Circleville Mayor John Jenkins was challenged by Republican Wilton E. (Bud) Christopher. The race was close, very close. At the end of November 8th, Jenkins had received 1721 votes and Christopher took 1720, according to a series of Circleville Herald articles published that year.

Something literally didn’t add up. Only 300 people registered to vote at the precinct; however, 301 votes were cast. The judge, Rosemary Strickland, the election judge at city ward 2-C allegedly cast a vote while setting up and testing the voting machine, then cast a vote later in the day.
Christopher requested a recount and appealed to the Common Pleas Court. The city prosecutor, Roger Kline, and Strickland denied that she made two votes for the mayor, saying that she hadn’t voted for the mayor the second time she voted.

Wilton E. (Bud) Christopher

Christopher asked the judge to void the election, declare him the winner, or declare a tie vote. The issues wasn’t resolved until December 12th that year when Judge William Ammer ruled that he did not have authority to order a new election, and that if the election were voided, Jenkins would serve another term as mayor any way. Christopher made no further appeals.

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