By Karen Hall
A Cornersville woman lost her chance to serve as one of the town's five aldermen last week as the result of a vote by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to break a tie in last month's election.
Incumbent Melisa Peters and challenger Suzanne Boatright were tied with 145 votes each.
"On election night she was three votes ahead of me," Boatright said this week, but that was before absentee and early votes were counted. Sometime before Nov. 19, when election results were certified, Boatright found she was tied with Peters, and that the Board of Mayor and Aldermen would have to break the tie at their December meeting.
"We find ourselves in a difficult position," said Mayor Amos Davis on Dec. 6. "We can vote for a run-off election, or the board can vote to break the tie."
He called on Tristan Arnold, Marshall County Administrator of Elections, to tell the board the cost of a run-off election. She said it would be $10,870.39, or $16.40 for each of Cornersville's 663 registered voters.
Telling Peters she had no say in the matter, Davis called on each of the remaining four aldermen to state whether they wanted a run-off election or a tie-breaker vote by the board. All opted for the tie-breaker vote, citing the prohibitive cost of an election.
Then the mayor went round the table, asking each alderman to choose between Peters and Boatright. Doris Arthur, Lezlie Calahan and Sheryl McClintock all voted for Peters, while new alderman Jimmy Wolaver voted for Boatright.
"Melisa Peters has been voted in as alderman by a 3-1 vote," announced Davis.
"It went the way I expected," Boatright said. "I went up and congratulated her. I think I would have had a better chance if it had been a run-off election." Boatright went on to say she thought a run-off election could have been done much more cheaply than Arnold quoted, using paper ballots and holding it at the Town Hall.
"I'll be back; I'll do it again," Boatright said. There will be three aldermen's positions up for election in two years time, and Boatright says, "I'll give it another shot. I might get lucky. Next time I will start (campaigning) earlier."
Last month, five candidates were running for two four-year terms as aldermen, with Peters and Carl Moses trying to retain their seats, and Georgann Blackburn, Boatright, and Wolaver challenging them. Wolaver polled the most votes, with 161, trailed by Boatright, Peters, Blackburn (115) and Moses (113). Moses was thus replaced by Wolaver, who was sworn in at the beginning of last week's meeting and took his seat at the table.
Alderman Sheryl McClintock, who represents Marshall County's 4th District on the school board, ran unopposed for a two-year term.