Como Mayoral Race

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 5, 2010

Affidavit votes lean toward Hill in mayoral race

By Billy Davis and Jason C. Mattox

Como’s two mayoral candidates, knotted in a tight race, observed Thursday as 13 of 25 affidavit ballot envelopes were accepted and added to a three-vote split.

Mark Lipscomb, 42, was leading 240 to 237 over Everette Hill, 43, when the three-member election commission moved through 12 legal ballots – the thirteenth had no legible mark.

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Lipscomb won four ballots, bumping him up to 244 votes.

But Hill won the remaining eight, giving him a single-vote advantage over Lipscomb.

With the 12 ballots counted, election commissioners Judy Gravatt, Louise Brown and Teresa Wallace then faced a push from public observers to count a single disputed ballot that had been rejected.

Como citizens argued that the ballot for Edward Robinson was listed on the same circuit court voter list as a second name, Ronnie Jackson, but Robinson had been rejected and Jackson accepted.

Wallace then called a secretary of of state official for guidance but was told the election commission must decide.

“I vote to open it,” she said.

Gravatt and Brown agreed, and one of them opened the envelope and announced Robinson’s vote for Hill.

Hill’s win means he will finish the four-year term of Judy Sumner, who passed away January 9.

Hill is presently serving his second term as alderman.

The mayoral election also adds a new political chapter to the little town, where political decisions are under more scrutiny after an IRS judgement, which came to light in 2007, shed light on financial troubles at city hall.

Hill told a reporter Thursday morning he would have ample time to serve as mayor if elected to the office. A trucking job with Ryder allows him to be home every day “by noon, if not before,” he said.

“I leave at three in the morning,” he said. “Sometimes I’m home by eight o’clock.”

 A secretary of state official, and two representatives from the state attorney general’s office, were present Tuesday to observe the mayoral election.

No one from a state agency was present to observe the counting of the affidavits.