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election retained their seats, yet a few newcomers joined the government.
All incumbent candidates will return to their offices for another term, except for Ward 3 Vidalia City Schools Board of Education Member Bruce Asberry, who was defeated by Brittney Black. It is reported that 16.67% of the 1,500 registered voters within Ward 3 voted, as a total of 250 ballots were cast. Asberry led the race during the advance voting period, earning 58 votes to Black’s 52 votes; yet, Black pulled away to victory in votes cast on Election Day – where she took home 66 votes to Asberry’s 48 votes – and in absentee ballots – where she garnered 10 votes to Asberry’s eight votes. Ultimately, the votes totaled 114 in favor of Asberry and 128 in favor of Black.
“Thanks to all supporters and those who voted for me! It is an honor to stand here before you today as a servant of the people. I count it a pleasure to not only be a servant, but an advocate for those whose voices may be too small for us to sometimes hear. I speak for them, because my voice is big, and my voice is strong. And when I speak, I am speaking for our children!” Black emphasized. “You have elected me to do a job and I will stop at nothing to ensure that every child within our school system is safe, every child has the opportunity to succeed, and every teacher has the tools needed to lead our children to greatness.”
Meanwhile, also in Ward 3, incumbent City Councilman John Raymond Turner’s next term was solidified through the official election. Although he was uncontested, he garnered 227 votes.
The race for Vidalia City Schools Board of Education At-Large seat had a higher voter participation rate than almost all of the other races, as 1,465 total ballots were cast. Challenger Gerriell Craig claimed more votes than incumbent Vidalia City Schools Board of Education Chair Julee Torrance in the absentee voting sector; he earned 26 votes to Torrance’s 15 votes. Yet, Torrance took the lead in both advance voting – where she earned 491 votes to Criag’s 295 – and ballots cast on Election Day – as she took home 333 votes compared to Craig’s 299 votes. Ultimately, Torrance was the victor of the race, as the final vote count totaled 839 to 620. The Vidalia City Council At-Large Seat race also saw higher voter participation, as a total of 1,439 votes were cast in the election. Incumbent City Councilman Bob Dixon held a steady lead against his opponent, Elizabeth Hart Harvill. Dixon received a total of 919 votes – 26 through absentee voting, 507 during advance voting, and 386 on Election Day; meanwhile, Harvill took home 16 absentee votes, 264 advance voting votes, and 230 Election Day votes – a total of 510 ballots were cast for her.
The Vidalia City Schools Board of Education Ward 1 seat was also up for grabs, as incumbent Board Member Anthony “Andy” Blount faced off with Belva R. Franklin. The race saw a total of 276 votes, as 185 ballots were cast for Blount, 87 ballots were cast for Franklin, and four votes were written in for candidates not on the ballot. Franklin took the lead in absentee voting, as she earned four votes to Blount’s one vote, but Blount found great success in advance voting where he received 88 votes to Franklin’s 32 vote and in Election Day voting, where he garnered 96 votes compared to Franklin’s 51 votes.
Incumbent City Councilman Loyd Mobley and challenger Connie F. Williams both vied for the Ward 4 seat of the Vidalia City Council, but it was ultimately Mobley who took home the victory, as he received 324 total votes to Williams’s 162 total votes. Mobley led the race at every level, as he garnered six absentee votes to Williams’s four absentee votes, 200 advance voting votes to Williams’s 88 advance voting votes, and 118 Election Day votes to Williams’s 70 Election Day votes.
In Lyons, Drayton Oliver and Jency Jeffers faced off to see who would be named incumbent Lyons City Council Ward 5 Councilman Rick Hartley’s successor.
Hartley informed the Council that he would not be seeking re-election in June, as he told his fellow council members and the public that he felt that his time serving in leadership was over. “Most of you that know me know that I am old-school, and it may be because I am old. But I’ve always been a conservative person, and I’m a Republican. I have always had two beliefs: that elected officials should have term limits and in the last few years, I’ve grown to believe that elected officials should have age limits,” Hartley shared during the announcement. “For that reason, I am officially telling you that I will not seek reelection this year. I know that August is qualifying, so whoever you want to find to run for Ward 5, you have plenty of time to talk them into it. I will not run for reelection.”
The next month, local business owner Jency Jeffers announced her candidacy for the position, as Drayton Oliver also sought the seat.
Oliver ultimately won the position, earning a total of 74 votes to Jeffers’s 14 votes. He led his challenger in every portion of the race, as he received 34 advance voting ballots compared to Jeffers’ two advance voting ballots, and 40 Election Day votes compared to Jeffers’s 12 Election Day ballots.
Overall, it was low voter turnout in Lyons, as only 89 of the 555 registered voters within Ward 5 participated in the election.
Oliver commented on his victory. “I got out and went door-to-door to meet the people in my ward. Since there was only one contested race in Lyons, I tried to get people out to vote by going out again the night before the election, as well as texting and making calls,” he explained. “I look forward to working for the people of Lyons and with the mayor and Council.”
The new city councilman will take office next year.
Voter turnout was low for the Mount Vernon City Council election on Tuesday, November 7, as only 12.5% of registered voters within the city cast their ballots.
All three incumbent City Council members running for re-election won their seats, as Hansel “Pete” Horton took home 116 votes, Jerry “Hoppy” Sikes earned 119 votes, and Elizabeth Williams garnered 114 total votes. The Council’s fourth candidate, Ashley Conway, had 32 votes in the election, but because the three available seats were all considered at-large seats, only the top three candidates won the positions.
In addition to these races, Mayor Joey B. Fountain was reelected for another term as mayor, as the unopposed candidate’s term renewal was solidified with the election.
Overall, 154 voters participated in the election – 71 of which voted on Election Day, 79 of which voted early, and four of which voted by mail through absentee ballots.