Write-Ins Carried the Day in Vass
BY FLORENCE GILKESON
Write-in candidates swept the Vass Town Board election Tuesday, returning one incumbent to office and welcoming a new commissioner. The mayor and another incumbent commissioner were re-elected.
However, the sweep was minimal, with only 72 of the town's 463 registrants showing up at the one polling place Tuesday.
Write-in candidates, incumbent Commissioner George Blackwell and newcomer Matthew Callahan, picked up 49 votes apiece. Incumbent Commissioner Donald Bridgers, the third candidate and the only one who officially filed for re-election, received 31 votes.
A third write-in candidate for commissioner, businessman Al Mosely, received 27 votes.
Incumbent Mayor Eddie Callahan, who was unopposed as an official candidate, was the biggest vote-getter, with 59 votes.
All vote tallies are unofficial until the Moore County Board of Elections meets Tuesday at 11 a.m. to canvass the results.
Glenda Clendenin, county elections director, says the write-in election and the results are not that unusual for many of the smaller municipalities in the county.
In the past, municipalities have relied on write-in candidates if an insufficient number of candidates filed, or if deaths and withdrawals occurred between the filing period deadline and the election. Candidates who withdraw after the filing period ends may have their names removed from the ballot if their decision is made prior to the printing of the ballot and in accordance with state law.
Vass registrants were asked to vote for mayor and for three seats on the board of commissioners, but the ballot bore only the names of the mayoral incumbent candidate and one incumbent commissioner. One incumbent, Paulette Elliott, did not seek re-election because she could not commit to another full four-year term.
Callahan, who will take Elliott's seat, is a land surveyor and a member of the Vass Planning Board.
Blackwell did not file for re-election during the filing period in July because he was hospitalized.
The terms of incumbent Commissioners Margaret C. Cirone and Rora M. Kellis do not expire for two years. The five commissioners serve staggered terms, with three elected in one year, the other two in the next election.
Clendenin says municipal elections are subject to ups and downs in voter turnout, depending on whether there are contested races or special issues that fire up voters.
Interest may change for any number of reasons. For example, Foxfire Village more than doubled its turnout this year, without any contested races.
All municipal elections in Moore County are nonpartisan.
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