PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla.- Putnam County Sheriff Homer 'Gator' Deloach will stay in office after a court ruling denied a challenge to have ballots in last November's election thrown out.

Circuit Court Judge Gary Wilkinson ruled that 42 ballots challenged by second place candidate Jonathan Kinney should not be thrown out.

Attorneys for Kinney argued the ballots should have been thrown out because some of them were cast by felons and others were cast by non-residents. One person who voted by mail died before the election.

Judge Wilkinson wrote in his opinion:

It is uncontroverted that each of the 42 voters at issue in this lawsuit were registered voters in the Statewide System at the time they voted in the General Election. It is also uncontroverted that no party to thc lawsuit challenged the eligibility of any of the 40 voters alleged to be illegal prior to thc General Election, or that the two alleged non-conforming were challenged prior to canvassing or recounts. Thus, based on the information available to the Supervisor's Office and the Canvassing Board on election day, each of the 42 votes at issue in this proceeding appeared to be legal.

On election night, Kinney had a narrow 18 vote lead out of more than 32,000 ballots cast. However, after more than 400 votes via mail and other outstanding ballots were counted, Deloach was certified the winner by 16 votes.

Read the ruling below

Putnam Sheriff Vote Decision by NealBennett on Scribd