No surprises as Pembroke vote certified

First Posted: 3/18/2014

LUMBERTON — The results of the March 11 Pembroke election changed only slightly after Tuesday’s certification by the Robeson County Board of Elections, with three new members being elected to the council and one long-time member being ousted.

With all the votes tallied — absentee mail, one-stop early voting, provisional and Election Day — Theresa Locklear was the high vote-getter in the six-way contest for two four-year council terms with 406 votes, with Channing Jones winning the second seat with 390 votes. Incumbent Allen Dial came in third with 282 votes.

The two contested seats were those currently held by Dial and Larry Brooks, who did not see re-election.

The other candidates in the six-way race included Joseph Milton Locklear, 65 votes; Chris Lowry, 32 votes; and John D. Campbell, 14 votes. There were no write-in votes cast for the two seats.

In the race to finish the remaining two years of the unexpired term of the late Robert Williamson, who died shortly after taking office, former Councilman Larry McNeill, with 386 votes, defeated challenger Mitch Lowry, who received 217 votes. There were four write-in votes cast in the race.

According to Steve Stone, chairman of the Robeson County Board of Elections, Dial withdrew two residency challenges he had filed by the deadline on election day. Stone also said that protests, excluding residency challenges, can be filed until Thursday.

Stone said he was happy with how smoothly the re-do election went. The March 11 special election was ordered by the state Board of Elections after a hearing last December brought to light voting irregularities that occurred during the November 2013 General Election. Most of the irregularities had to do with voters not meeting residency requirements.

Candidates present Tuesday when the final election results were announced were Locklear and McNeill.

“I’m just glad this election is over I’m glad the town people came out and voted and I hope they continue to participate in elections,”’ said Locklear, the first female ever elected to serve on the Pembroke Town Council. “I think the people in this election saw the opportunity they have to bring about change … I think this new board will act professionally and is a board that will listen to the concerns of the people.”

Locklear said she thanked all of those people in Pembroke who “prayed for change” and voted for her in the election.

McNeill also thanked all of those who supported him in his efforts to be elected to the board.

“The people can trust this board,” he said. “The members will be open-minded and will always put their interests of the citizens first … Above all, we have to always honest and truthful.”

McNeill, like Locklear, said that he feels the outcome of the election is a sign that the residents of Pembroke are looking for a governing board that will lead the community in a new direction.

“The vote indicated that the people want change,” he said. “The citizens spoke loud and clear.”

No date has been set for when the newly elected members of the council will be sworn into the council. The council meets the first Monday of each month, so its next meeting is April 7.

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