Election results certified

Election results certified

November 16th, 2011 by Mike O'Neal in Local Regional News

Due to the Veterans Day holiday, results from the Nov. 8 election were not certified until this week.

But one thing was certain shortly after polls closed: while Fort Oglethorpe's directory of elected officials will be unchanged, there will be some new faces on Ringgold's City Council and on the Catoosa County Board of Commissioners.

Only one of three incumbents, Vice Mayor Terry Crawford, was successful in his bid for re-election to the Ringgold council. In that five-man race where the top three vote getters will now serve, newcomers Nick Millwood and Earl Henderson garnered more votes than did council veterans Bill McMillon, with 16 years of service, and O.C. Adcock, who had been a councilman for 12 years.

About 14 percent of Ringgold's 1,813 registered voters participated in this year's election by casting paper ballots in person on Nov. 8 or by absentee, early or advance voting, according to Judy Pace, the city's superintendent of elections.

The new and returning council members are scheduled to take their oath of office on Jan. 9, 2012, the first council meeting of the new year.

Joe Barger, who garnered 195 votes, faced no opposition in his bid for re-election as mayor, a post he has held since 1975.

Unlike Ringgold, the mayoral race in Fort Oglethorpe had two well-known and experienced candidates: incumbent Lynn Long, who has been mayor, councilman and county commission chairman; and challenger Ken Marks, also with experience as a councilman and who resigned his county commission seat to run for mayor.

Long was re-elected mayor by about a two-to-one margin.

Two incumbents, Johnny "Red" Smith and Charles Sharrock, will return to Fort Oglethorpe's five-member council.

Smith handily won the Ward 1 race, receiving nearly 61 percent of the votes in defeating challengers Derek Rogers and Stephen Lanier. Sharrock, who was in a three-way race for the Ward 4 seat with two former councilmen, Steve Brandon and Harold Silcox, was picked by slightly more than 43 percent of those who cast ballots.

"To win any race, a candidate had to gain at least 40 percent of the votes cast," said Orma Luckey, the city's superintendent of elections.

Luckey said a total of 1,109 ballots were cast in the city's election, meaning about 25 percent of registered voters participated in this election.

The councilmen and mayor will take their oath of office during the first council meeting of 2012.

While the election results have been certified and recorded in Atlanta, there remains a bit of unfinished business regarding the referendum to allow package sale of wine and beer on Sunday in the city of Fort Oglethorpe.

The referendum did not pass, as 594 voted against Sunday sales while 487 voted to extend the sale of such beverages to seven days a week.

Organized opponents of the referendum who bought television time as well as printed and placed signs in opposition to the Sunday sales of alcohol failed to properly register as a Ballot Committee with the state Campaign Finance Committee, the successor to the state's Ethics Commission.

The ethics commission has been notified of the matter, Luckey said.

Catoosa County election official Tonya Moore said the special election required to fill the county commission seat vacated by Ken Marks attracted about 11.2 percent of the registered voters in District 1.

"Of the district's 1,061 registered voters, 1,016 cast ballots in this election," Moore said. "Of those, five voters picked no one on the ballot. There also were eight write-in votes."

Jeff Long, the director of public works and recreation for the city of Fort Oglethorpe, collected 78 percent of the votes cast to defeat former Fort Oglethorpe mayor Judd Burkhart in his bid for the commission seat.

Long took his oath of office last week so he could participate as a voting member during this week's commission meeting.

Moore said the next election will be the presidential preference primary that is set for March 6, 2012, with early voting in that straw poll beginning Feb. 13.

"Our absentee ballots must be ready for mailing by Jan. 21," she said.