The Town of Franklin Council will swear in two new faces next month as newcomers Jack Horton and Mike Lewis were elected to two of the three vacant seats on the ballot Tuesday. Incumbent Joe Collins was also voted to retain his seat.
Incumbent Franklin Mayor Bob Scott was up against challenger Barbara McRae, who
serves on the town council. Mayor Scott was re-elected to his seat with 322 votes to McRae’s 213.
A small hiccup in the process delayed results for a brief period of time as the Macon County Board of Elections worked with State officials to ensure the reporting was accurate. Board of Elections officials on hand Tuesday
night explained that the new programming to upload voting totals to the state did not operate the way they expected and caused a brief delay in reporting. Members of the Board of Elections diligently worked to resolve the issue with the state. For those waiting at the Board of Elections Tuesday night for totals, members of the Board of Elections brought out their calculators and hand-tallied the votes to combine one-stop voting, election day
voting, and absentee ballots. The unofficial, preliminary numbers were later verified by the state.
For Franklin and Highlands combined, there are 3,579 registered voters, of those registered to vote, 873 residents, or just 24.93 percent of voters went to the polls this election. While turnout seems relatively low, it is actually nearly double the amount of voter turnout seen in the last municipal election. Of the 873, just under 600 votes were cast in the Franklin election, with the remaining cast in Highlands.
“I have worked with the Board of Elections for about 20 years and this is one of the highest municipal election turn outs I have seen,” said Gary Dills. “I think that has a lot to do with Barbara McRae and Bob Scott and the active campaigns they ran.”
With Town Council member Adam Kimsey not seeking re-election, a total of three town seats were on the ballot in Franklin. Mike Lewis, who works as a civilian employee for the Macon County Sheriff’s Office was the top vote getter with 301 votes. Incumbent Joe Collins was able to retain his seat with 300 votes followed by Jack Horton, former Macon County manager, with 84 votes. Incumbent Brandon McMahan will not be re-elected as he received 258 votes.
Candidates Peter Mosco and T.J Wright received 155 and 69 votes respectively. Daniel Coates and Kevin Klatt, who both appeared on the ballot, attempted to withdraw from the election, however the ballots had already been printed. Because Coates and Klatt appeared on the ballot, they received 54 and 44 votes respectively.
Dinah Mashburn ran uncontested for her seat and received 413 votes.
In Highlands, the Town Board of Commissioners will also see a new face as newcomer Marc Hehn ousted Eric Pierson Tuesday night. Hehn received 134 votes compared to Pierson’s 130. Incumbents Brian Stiehler and John “Buz” Dotson were both reelected with 182 and 134 votes respectively. Hank Ross received 126 votes, Nick McCall, 85, and Michael Rogers, 58 votes.
The voting results are unofficial and will not be considered final until after canvassing. Because the Highlands race is so close, with less than 10 votes separating four candidates, the results may change to reveal different winners. The board will still have to tally provisional ballots, which may result in a different outcome. The Macon County Board of Elections will be canvassing for this election on Tuesday, Nov. 12.