PEMBROKE — Lumbee voters in the only two districts with contested races Tuesday for seats on the Lumbee Tribal Council ousted the incumbents.
In District 6, which includes North Pembroke and Raft Swamp, incumbent Larry Townsend lost his bid for re-election to Larry Chavis, a former council member, by five votes, 121 to 116.
In District 12, which includes Alfordsville, Maxton and Scotland County, political newcomer Ann Taylor defeated incumbent Areatha Patterson with 46 votes to 35 votes.
Elections board Chairman Sheila Beck-Jones said neither of the races were within the margin of 1 percent which would have permitted an automatic recount.
“A candidate could request a recount with a margin of more than 1 percent, but there would have to be a good reason for the Board of Elections to grant such a request,” Beck-Jones said.
Taylor said Tuesday night that she is excited to be joining the 21-member Tribal Council.
“I’m ready to jump in and represent my people,” said Taylor, who describes herself as just an “old country girl” from Gibson in Scotland County. “I love my people and have a big heart … . I’m going to be their voice. I’m going to make sure that they are all done right. I want to treat everyone equal.”
Attempts to reach Chavis for comment were unsuccessful.
Beck-Jones said that all of the results are unofficial. Candidates have five business days to file an appeal. If no appeals are filed, the Board of Elections will certify the election results on Dec. 6, she said.
According to Beck-Jones, only two voters cast provisional ballots. Provisional ballots are not usually counted, she said, unless there are enough to change the outcome of an election.
Beck-Jones earlier had predicted a low turnout at the polls for Tuesday’s election, and her prediction came true.
“It was a terrible turnout. I’m not sure why. It may have been because of the rain,” she said. “But it shows that we (tribal members) need to become more involved in tribal government and who is running it. I’m not saying that the people elected will not be good council members, but we only had two contested districts. That shows a lack of interest for serving as a government official for the tribe.”
Five other seats on the council were filled in uncontested races. Candidates unopposed in these districts were: incumbent Janie McFarland, District 2; incumbent Alton Locklear Jr., District 3; incumbent Jan Lowery, District 7; newcomer Corbin Eddings, District 8; and Ricky Burnett, a former councilman, District 13.
The election, which was to have been held earlier this month, had to be re-scheduled and candidates had to re-file to seek a seat on the council after the Lumbee Supreme Court deemed newly created voting district’s unconstitutional. Under the new district plan there would have been 21 voting districts with one council member representing each district. Currently, there are 14 districts with some members having more than one representative on the 21-member council.
Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.