After days of waiting to see who would become a new Garland commissioner, the final decision came down to a draw.
During a canvass Tuesday for the Nov. 3 Municipal Election, Judy C. Smith and Larry Lee Anderson agreed to a lottery method using colored pens to break their tie of 74 votes. Smith selected a purple pen and Anderson selected green. The pens were placed inside a box. Next, an election official selected Smith’s color — resulting in Smith winning the tie.
“I think Mr. Anderson and I were really taken by surprise,” Smith said about the matter.
Before the drawing, one provisional ballot was in favor of Smith, which resulted in a tie between Anderson and Smith with 74 votes each. During a recount session the day before, Anderson was ahead of Smith by one vote because of a check mark on a ballot, not counted by a machine.
“This just goes to prove that every vote counts,” Smith said regarding the recount and the tied drawing.
Ashley Tew, director of the Sampson County Board of Elections, felt the same way when it comes to voting on matters.
“Hopefully, this shows that every vote counts,” Tew said Tuesday. “One vote got us back in a tie and one vote got them away from a tie yesterday. Today, one vote got them back in a tie and resulted in drawing a pen to determine the winner.”
Both Smith and Anderson were OK with the process and shook hands following the draw.
“Sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t,” Anderson said.
Anderson said he’ll continue to be involved with Garland’s community watch program through the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office and help out in other ways.
“If the town needs me to do something I’ll be there,” Anderson said.
In the near future, Smith is looking forward to serving with her colleagues on the Garland Board and helping to move the town forward.
“I’m ready to get started and I want to be able to bring before the board the ideas that the voters have told me,” Smith said.
Smith noted how she’s just one voice, but some of the concerns collected from residents included recreational opportunities in town.
“People are very, very sad that our softball leagues are no longer in Garland,” Smith said. “We don’t have a park and they just feel that other small communities can have these things.”
Other matters included basketball goals, unpaved streets and renovations to historical buildings in Garland. But she mentioned how finances continues to be a challenge when it comes to making improvements.
“We really care about what’s going on in our town,” Smith said about town leaders. “I want to help move it forward. I hope that I can be instrumental in that happening.”