Change In Cumberland

Published 5:08 pm Thursday, November 10, 2011

CUMBERLAND – The election results from Tuesday sets the tone on one thing in Cumberland County and that's the point that change was wanted by citizens even though less than half of those registered in the county actually turned out to cast their ballots.

Cumberland has 6,561 registered voters and 2,587 took time this week to enact change in the rural county, according to the information that is posted by the State Board of Elections.

Elections for the Board of Supervisors and School Board are every four years-and there will be change in Cumberland come January.

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Board of Supervisors

General election unofficial results for the Board of Supervisors show that in District One W.F. “Bill” Osl Jr. received 96.55 percent of the votes, or 392 total votes. Write-in votes accounted for 14 of the votes or 3.44 percent.

Osl was running for reelection and was unopposed on the ballot.

He will be the only returning member to the Board of Supervisors.

In District Two, according to the results posted by the State Board of Elections, a new representative will also fill this seat.

Lloyd Banks Jr. won this race, according to the unofficial results, with 237 total votes or 43.32 percent of the vote.

Also on the ballot were Clifton C. “Cliff” White, who received 112 votes, or 20.47 percent of the votes, and Timothy M. “Tim” Kennell.

Kennell was running for reelection and received 196 votes or 35.64 percent of the votes. There were three write-in votes in this district.

“I'm thankful for the confidence people have in me being able to serve in that position,” noted Banks when contacted Wednesday by The Herald. “I just want to thank the people that came out and supported me and to let everybody know that I'll be looking for their advice on key issues and look forward to getting community feedback before making any decision that effects the county.

“Keeping people informed is key and that's what I look forward to doing-is just working with the community and opening up issues that involve the county to the community,” added Banks.

In District Three, result totals were delayed and didn't become available until later Wednesday evening.

On Tuesday one of the voting machines experienced problems and its use was discontinued, according to Registrar Marlene Watson.

As of mid-day Wednesday, the votes had still not been counted and those that had been cast on the broken machine earlier Tuesday morning still had to be retrieved, she said.

According to Watson, the vendor for the machines sent a technician to Cumberland to get the results off of the machine, she noted to The Herald. The votes were retrieved before six on Wednesday evening, Watson noted on Thursday morning.

“They are going to have to go through the steps of actually canvassing District Three's votes,” she said about retrieving District Three's votes and the numbers being unofficial.

The outcome of District Three is also more change.

W. Kevin Ingle received 301 votes, or 56.47 percent, according to the unofficial results posted on the State Board of Elections site.

Van H. Petty, who was running for reelection, received 223 votes, or 41.83 percent. There were nine write-in votes.

“I'd like to thank all the voters for coming out yesterday,” said Ingle on Wednesday to The Herald the evening after receiving the results, “and persevering through the machines. Some of them waited an hour and 15 minutes to vote. It was a great democratic process yesterday.”

Concerning his future on the Board, Ingle also offered that he's “ready to get started in the process of the position.”

District Four will also undergo a change.

According to the unofficial results, David E. Meinhard will fill this seat.

He won the race with 237 votes or 41.72 percent of the votes beating out incumbent Elbert Womack who has been on the Board for 12 years.

Womack received 209 votes or 36.79 percent of the votes. The third candidate in this race was Bill R. Bruce and he received 122 votes or 21.47 percent of the votes.

“In all sincerity, I knocked on just about every door I could knock on in my district and people are hurting out here, financially, with the economy the way it is,” offered Womack on Wednesday in response to the election results. “Regardless of whether it is right or wrong, when I walk up to their house, I'm government, you know, and then they just take it out on me that I'm causing all of these problems…You just sit there and listen to it and in reality, there's nothing you can do about that but some people are just so misinformed.”

Womack later thanked those in the community that supported him and said, “I've enjoyed the 12 years that I've served the people of Cumberland County.

“You'd be surprised how people just don't read the newspaper, they don't listen to the radio, and they don't listen to the news-they pay attention to what other people say or what they're promising and in reality, they can't promise them anything,” continued Womack. “I guess that's just reality. I guess that's just politics…”

When asked by The Herald for comment, Meinhard stated that he was not prepared to comment on the outcome of the election.

According to the unofficial results, Parker H. Wheeler was elected as the new representative to the Board for District Five.

Wheeler was running unopposed on the ballot although incumbent Bobby Oertel announced a write-in campaign in October.

Wheeler received 305 votes or 71.26 percent of the vote and there were 123 write-in votes, which accounted for 28.73 percent of the votes, states the State Board of Election postings.

Constitutional Officers And Soil And Water

This year, the Constitutional Officers seats including Commonwealth's Attorney, Patricia D. Scales; Sheriff, Darrell L. Hodges; Commissioner of Revenue, Anita H. French; and Treasurer, L. O. “Lee” Pfeiffer Jr. were also on the ballot but those candidates were unopposed.

Scales received 1,999 votes, or 97.08 percent of the votes, and there were 60 write-in votes. Hodges received 2,385 votes, or 98.79 percent of the votes, and there were 29 write-in votes. French received 2,199 votes, or 98.92 percent of the votes, and there were 24 write-in votes. Pfeiffer received 2,256 votes, or 99.20 percent, and there were 18 write-in votes.

For the Soil and Water Conservation Director, Peter Francisco District, voters were to cast a decision on the two candidates listed-Terry D. Seal and M. Todd Smith. Seal received 1,668 votes and Smith received 1,342. Both will fill the two positions. There were 23 write-in votes.

Cumberland School Board

Ginger M. Sanderson won the District One School Board seat with 424 votes, or 97.92 percent of the vote. She was unopposed on the ballot and was running for reelection. There were nine write-in votes cast.

In District Two George Lee Dowdy III received 423 votes for the School Board seat, or 94.84 percent. There were 23 write-in votes cast or 5.15 percent.

Although there were no names listed on the ballot for District Three two candidates had officially announced write-in campaigns.

According to Watson's unofficial results, there were a total of 364 votes cast, including absentee ballots, in District Three. Of that total, 167 votes were for Eurika Trent-Tyree and 117 were for Yvonne Earvin. Tyree was elected to fill the District Three seat on the Cumberland School Board in January.

“I'm excited and I'm ready to take on the challenge,” said Tyree to The Herald on Thursday morning. “I'm ready to be a team player with the other Board members in ensuring that our students, staff, and faculty there receive the best service, the most updated technology. I want them to be prepared for the next step, the next level. I want them to be very competitive with the surrounding counties…

“We already have a great foundation,” she continued. “We just want to ensure that it's maintained.”

Tyree also noted, “I've made history. I'm the first black female to sit on the Board, the School Board of Cumberland. Being born and raised here in this little rural county, people can say what they want but we have the potential to be just as outstanding as anyone else.”

In District Four there were also no names on the ballot listed and there were two candidates who had officially run write-in campaigns-Debbie Bruce and Kathy Weaver-and neither were elected to fill the seat, according to the unofficial results detailed by Watson.

Current School Board member George Reid Jr. received the most write-in votes. Out of a total of 244 votes, including absentee ballots, cast, Reid received 111 on Tuesday. Bruce received 81 and Weaver received 20. Reid was voted back by District Four voters to sit on the School Board, although he announced earlier this summer that he would not seek reelection.

When asked by The Herald in October about the potential to receive write-in votes, Reid responded by email and said, “If the opportunity to serve again, by write-in, presents itself, I would make a decision at that time…”

On Thursday Reid said, “I had announced that I was not going to run for the School Board but family and constituents asked me to run and that they were going to do a write-in campaign and I appreciate their support and those people that voted for me.

“I have decided that I am going to serve a final term,” he added about receiving the more votes. “I am going to serve with the same dedication and hard work as I have done previous years I've been on the Board.”

Christine C. Ross won the District Five seat with 362 votes, or 93.29 percent, and there were 26 write-in votes cast.

Ross announced earlier this fall that she was stepping away from the Board due to a conflict but would still be on the ballot for the General Election in November.