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Computer crash delays election results

Stone County Enterprise of Wiggins, Mississippi

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Computer problems led to a long night at the Stone County Courthouse Tuesday.

The need to manually count votes kept election officials on the job past midnight.

The glitch that brought down the computer had not been identified as of that time.

"It crashed," said Circuit Clerk Kenny Hatten. "I do not know the reason at this time."

With all machine votes counted along with absentee ballots, unofficial results saw the county coming out from under the dry law, some county officials turned out of office and others holding their positions by wide margins.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night was the overwhelming vote to repeal prohibition in the county.

Voters approved the referendum by a 3,154 to 1,734 margin.

The closest race was for the Circuit Clerk's office for which Hatten chose to not seek reelection.

Former Justice Court Judge-East Jeffrey O'Neal held a slim 54vote lead over Ricky Hunt with 103 affidavit votes remaining to be counted.

"I'm apprehensive and I'm anxious," O'Neal said before leaving the courthouse. "It's not over yet. I figured it was going to be a close race."

No matter the outcome, he said there was no animosity generated by the race.

"I have nothing against Mr. Hunt," he said. "He's a good, Christian man and a good family man.

"I've known the Hunt family most of my life and they are good people."

In what many might see as an upset, Inita Owen got 713 more votes than incumbent Superintendent of Education Gwen Miller.

Neither was on hand for the count.

County Attorney Scott Gibson was also unseated, losing by 306 votes to Tom Matthews III.

"I'm disappointed," Gibson said. "I really appreciate the voters of Stone County giving me the opportunity they did for the past year."

Gibson had defeated Matthews in a special election to replace former County Attorney Tadd Parsons.

Sheriff Mike Farmer was reelected in a landslide, defeating Roger Freeman by nearly 2,000 votes out of nearly 5,000 cast.

"First of all, I'd like to thank the good Lord for allowing me to do this," said Farmer, who will enter into his fourth consecutive term. "I'd also like to thank the citizens of Stone County for showing their confidence in me and allowing me to have another term."

Farmer also praised those who serve under him for their selfless dedication to law enforcement.

In another very close race, Chancery Clerk Gerald Bond got 412 more votes than John Matthews.

"It was promising," Matthews said of his campaign. "I'm not ruling out running for countywide office again."

Wayne Flurry was reelected to his Coroner position unopposed.

The District 1 Supervisor seat was left vacant when Joseph Davenport chose to not seek reelection.

Clark Byrd, who Davenport unseated four years ago, was unopposed in his bid to return to the board.

In District 2, Daniel Harris rolled over his opponent, James Snowden, 775-165.

"I really appreciate the people giving me another four years," Harris said. "They must feel I'm doing a decent job."

District 3 Supervisor Lance Pearson beat challenger Windy Caminita, 678-357.

"It's been an honor and a privilege to serve on this board and previous boards," Pearson said. "I believe the county's come a long way in the last eight years and I look forward to working with this new board to keep the county moving forward."

Scott Strickland was unopposed in his bid for reelection to the District 4 Supervisor's position.

Dale Bond earned 761 votes to 454 for W. Gene Dalrymple to retain the District 5 Supervisor's seat.

Entering his third consecutive and fifth overall term on the board, Bond thanked the voters.

"It's an honor to know the people put their confidence in me and I look forward to continuing to serve them," he said.

Justin Miles won the Justice Court Judge-East bench vacated by Jeffrey O'Neal, beating Chuck McMurphy by 195 votes.

Justice Court Judge-West Ricky Farmer was unopposed for another term.

Louis Simmons defeated challenger Kevin Stubbs, 1,493-955 to retain his Constable-West position.

Steve Compston was unopposed for Constable-East.

Copyright 2015 Stone County Enterprise, Wiggins, Mississippi. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: November 4, 2015

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