As of Monday afternoon, Larry Lee Anderson will become the new face on Garland’s Board of Commissioners — by one vote.
Following behind current commissioner Ralph Smith’s 115 votes, Anderson tied with challenger Judy C. Smith for the second spot available on the board. Both candidates had 73 votes after the polls closed for Nov. 2 General Election. Denise Toler, with 59 votes, did not win re-election.
Following the news, Anderson demanded a recount which was held Monday at Sampson County’s Board of Elections office. During the process, votes from Garland’s precincts. Board officials reviewed the ballots and discovered one with a check mark in favor of Anderson.
“It was probably not counted by the machine,” said Ashley Tew, director of the Sampson County Board of Elections, regarding a oval that was not properly filled in.
After the recount, election officials tallied 74 votes for Anderson, 73 for Judy Smith, Ralph Smith, and Toler trailed with 60 even.
Tew said 35 ballots were cast during early voting, which added to the total. Today, the votes will be hand-counted during the official canvass. Provisional ballots will be counted at this time. Garland had two and according to Tew, one will count.
“If that vote is for non of the candidates, then of course, Mr. Anderson will secure his win,” Tew said.
But if Judy Smith receives another vote, the race will be tied again and the board will determine the winner by the luck of a draw.
“They will either choose to place the names in a hat, pull straws or flip a coin,” Tew said. “The board determines the way in which the luck will go and both candidates will be present to see which way that go.”
The deadline for a candidate to request a recount is 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 12.
After the election, both candidates indicated that they wanted to help make Garland a better town.
“I know that we both worked very hard and we both have the best interest of the town at heart,” Smith said.
Regardless of the outcome, Smith said she was still going to support Garland and Anderson, who she said was equally capable as her.
“Garland has had a lot of growth within the last year,” Smith said. “With our NC STEP program, a lot of citizens and our leaders have worked very hard to turn things around.”
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.