DUBLIN — On Wednesday afternoon, after an eye-hand recount was performed by the Bladen County Board of Elections, the winner in the race for Dublin town commissioner was declared to be incumbent Councilman Jeff Smith — by a single vote.
As of the completion of the canvass on Tuesday morning, Smith had edged out challenger Tommy Thompson, 44-43. At the end of last week’s voting, both candidates had 43 votes and there were three provisional ballots cast that had to be ruled on by the board. Thompson requested a recount on Friday.
The board ruled that two of the provisional votes did not count and one was allowed to stand.
“Tommy Thompson asked for a recount,” said Gina Ward, assistant deputy director of the Bladen County Board of Elections. “He came in on Friday with his request.”
Tojie King and Bryan Martin acted as ballot counters for the recount and were given their oath of office by Board of Elections Director Cynthia Shaw. Smith and Thompson, along with members of the media, watched silently as Bladen County Board of Elections Deputy Director Marsha White read out the names on the ballots and the tallies were taken.
Once the recount was completed, the Board of Elections declared Smith the official winner.
Following the recount, Thompson said he had no comment.
Smith, on the other hand, issued a written statement to the media.
“Regarding the recount, I never doubted the Board of Elections ability and professionalism in correctly handling just 87 votes the first time,” writes Smith. “I would like to say thank-you to the residents of Dublin for re-electing me your town commissioner. I intend to continue to work on developing and attracting new businesses to the town; keeping taxes and utilities low, expanding Dublin with new ideas, as well as maintaining a friendly business environment.”
The statement continued, “I am also thankful that the election was decided by a majority vote and not a coin flip ….this confirmation is encouraging and is a note well taken in advancing the town of Dublin. Special thanks to Charles Bethea and Myrtle Hester for giving it there all. God’s will has been done.”
After the recount, Shaw said, “This is proof that every vote counts.”