Simpsonville race might be too close

-A A +A

Race decided by one vote

By Nathan L. McBroom

Simpsonville Commission may be too close to call

Race decided by one vote

By Nathan L. McBroom/Staff Writer

The last open seat on the Simpsonville City Commission was decided by one vote in Tuesday’s election, and there could be a recount.

At least one non-city resident was given a ballot and voted in the election, and incumbent candidate Cary Vowels, who lost by that vote, might ask for a recount.

As it stands, newcomer Sharon Cummins will be joined by incumbents Scott McDowell, Vicky Wise and Dottie Shelburne on the commission for the next two years.

Vowels, who had been on the commission for six years, lagged behind Shelburne, 440 votes to 439.

He said he has done the math on the election results several times, and he is going to think about his next move for the next couple days.

“I have had a good six years on the commission, and I kind of have mixed feelings about asking for a recount,” he said. “But if that is the case [that non-residents cast ballots], I may be inclined to ask for a recount.”

Shelburne could not be reached for comment.

Shelby County Clerk Sue Carroll Perry said that ballots cast by non-residents in the race were the result of an “unfortunate human error.”

She would not estimate how many of these ballots were cast but said it could not have been a large number.

Perry said this problem, which has happened in past elections, occurs when non-city residents are mistakenly given city ballots and fill them out.

Simpsonville Mayor Steve Eden said, because this was a problem that has occurred in the past, he was disappointed that no safe guards had been put into place to prevent it from happening this year.

He said he hopes those safe guards will be established before the next election.

Eden said Vowels has been a good commissioner and good for the city.

A total of 2,870 votes were cast in Tuesday’s nonpartisan race. McDowell led with 19.6 percent (570), 14 more than Cummins (19.5 percent), and Wise had 526 (18.1 percent).

This is McDowell’s fifth term on the commission and the first election in which he has been the top vote getter. He said he was flattered.

“I guess it means I must be doing something right,” he said.

Cummins said her campaign strategy was informing the public through an e-mail distribution and word of mouth. She said it also doesn’t hurt that she has lived in Simpsonville all of her life.

“I guess there is still a lot of old-timers that remember me from when I was a kid,” she said.

Eden said he has known Cummins for a long time and feels that she will work hard for the city.

He said he hopes “the commission will continue to work together to move the city forward.”