Election certification confirms winners

By Thomas Wilson

   Unofficial winners became official Tuesday when the Carter County Election Commission certified the Nov. 5 election results.
   "We had a (voter) turnout of 52 percent in Carter County," said Tracy T. Harris, administrator of elections.
   Harris said an additional six votes were tallied from a voting machine at the East Side precinct previously thought to have no votes. Those votes squeezed even tighter what was already one of the closest city council elections in history.
   Diane Morris edged Sid Cox by two votes for the fourth seat on the Elizabethton City Council, according to certified election numbers.
   Two MicroVote machines -- one at the East Side precinct and one at the T.A. Dugger precinct -- malfunctioned on Election Day. Election officials had initially been told that no votes were counted on the East Side machine and less than five votes were on the T.A. Dugger machine.
   The T.A. Dugger machine returned 49 votes that pushed Morris past Cox by three votes.
   Harris said Tuesday the East Side machine yielded six votes with two cast for Cox and one for Morris.
   Morris received 1,618 votes to 1,616 for Cox after all votes were counted and results certified.
   Incumbent council members Sam Shipley, Janie Smith McKinney and Pat "Red" Bowers won re-election to the city council. Council members Mayor Sam LaPorte, Richard Sammons and Nancy Alsup do not face re-election for another two years.
   City school board incumbents Catherine Armstrong and Bob Berry won new terms finishing with 2,721 votes and 1,950 votes, respectively. Challenger William T. Hunt finished third with 1,540 votes.
   In the state races, Sen. Dewey "Rusty" Crowe collected over 10,800 votes to win by a 4-to-1 margin in the county over Democratic nominee Richard Gabriel.
   Crowe also handily won Washington County, taking in over 19,000 votes to 5,600 for Gabriel and 2,300 for independent candidate Charles Mattioli.
   Jerome Cochran garnered 9,823 votes to win the 4th District House seat in the General Assembly. Incumbent Ralph Cole, who had lost to Cochran in the Republican primary, received over 3,800 write-in votes, according to certified election results.
   An amendment to lift the ban on a state-run lottery passed by a 53 percent to 47 percent margin across the state. The lottery amendment barely lost majority favor with county citizens, losing by a 16-vote margin of 7,062 citizens voting yes and 7,078 citizens voting no.
   County voters soundly voted down Amendment 2 that would have lifted the constitutional limit on fines imposed by the General Assembly's in-court proceedings not decided by a jury.
   Local voters cast 6,888 ballots against Amendment 2 and 4,833 ballots for the amendment.
   Despite gaining the majority of "yes" votes statewide, the amendment failed to pass because the number of "yes" votes did not exceed 50 percent of the total number of citizens who voted in the governor's race.
   Harris said her office would begin preparing for the City of Johnson City election in April 2003 for western Carter County voters residing within that city's corporate limits.