UPDATED 8:44 a.m.
Karl Riles is Hinesville’s new mayor and José Ortiz is the city’s first Hispanic councilmember. In Walthourville, Mayor Larry Baker and Mayor Pro Tem Sarah B. Hayes are headed for a runoff, and three new councilmembers will take seats there amid the city’s financial crisis. And in Allenhurst, Nicole Reed replaces Steve Welborn on the town council.
Riles took to Facebook shortly after 8 p.m. to thank his supporters: “We have so many people to thank and will post something more formal later, but to put everyone at ease…We did it. Thank you, Hinesville.”
Hinesville’s new city council includes Diana Reid (District 1), Jason Floyd (District 2), Vicky Nelson (District 3), Dexter Newby (District 4), and Ortiz (District 5).
All results are unofficial until certified by the Georgia Secretary of State’s office:
Voters in Allenhurst, Hinesville, Riceboro, and Walthourville cast ballots in municipal elections Tuesday, Nov. 7, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Voters countywide cast 2,384 advance in-person ballots and 101 mail-in or dropbox ballots in the three weeks leading up to Election Day, for a total of 2,485 early votes cast, according to the Liberty County Board of Elections and Registration. No ballots were rejected or spoiled.
Gum Branch’s election was cancelled on September 1 because only one candidate ran for each seat: Mayor Tina L. Eason; incumbent City Council members Brooke L. Horne, Charles Simpson, and Corrina Simpson; and Karen Wells Kennedy.
Where to Vote: Pleasant Grove AME Church Social Hall, 1450 W. Oglethorpe Hwy. (directions)
Mayor James M. Willis ran unopposed for reelection. Willis got 31 advance in-person votes and 2 absentee by mail for a total of 33 early votes. One unresolved write-in vote also was cast. Overall, he won 72 votes (100%).
Nicole Reed (46 votes, 24.6%) edged out Steve Welborn (44 votes, 23.53%) by two votes to win a seat on Allenhurst’s Town Council. Eleanor Easton won 50 votes (26.74%) and William Harrell won 47 (25.13%).
In early voting, Reed led the pack with 24 advance in-person votes, followed by Welborn with 19 advance in-person votes and 2 absentee by mail for a total of 21; Easton got 16 advance in-person votes and 4 absentee by mail for a total of 20; and Harrell took 17 advance in-person votes and 2 absentee by mail, totaling 19 early votes. Five advance votes were unresolved. The top three vote-getters will be seated.
Where to Vote: Charles M. Shuman Recreation Center, 800C Tupelo Trail (directions)
The Current dropped by Tuesday morning and chatted with the candidates, who have set up tents for last-minute meet-and-greet efforts. Most offered snacks or small giveaways like fidget spinners or bracelets, and all were well outside the 150-foot electioneering line. The candidates will convene at the old courthouse at 7 p.m. for the count.
Karl A. Riles (2,088 votes, 68.12%) beat Liston Singletary III (97 votes, 31.88%) to succeed longtime mayor Allen Brown. In early voting, Riles led with 1,418 votes (1,348 advance in-person, 70 absentee by mail) to Singletary’s 658 votes (644 advance in-person, 14 absentee by mail). Eight unresolved write-in votes were cast by advance in-person. Eleven unresolved write-in ballopts also were cast (3 on Election day, 8 during advance in=person voting). Turnout was 13.38%, with 3,100 of Hinesville’s 23,170 registered voters casting ballots.
- District 1: Incumbent Diana F. Reid faces two challengers, Marcello Page and Alan White. In early voting, Reid led with 289 votes (271 advance in-person, 18 absentee by mail); White was next with 77 votes (75 advance in-person, 2 absentee by mail); followed by Page with 60 votes (all advance in-person). District 1 also had 3 unresolved write-in votes (1 advance in-person, 2 absentee by mail).
- District 2: Incumbent Jason Floyd takes on challenger Robert E. Cunningham. In early voting, Floyd got 311 votes (297 advance in-person, 14 absentee by mail), while Cunningham got 110 votes (107 advance in-person, 3 absentee by mail). District 2 also had 2 unresolved write-in votes via advance in-person.
- District 3: Incumbent Vicky “Haynes” Nelson faces challenger Arthur Nixon. Haynes took 269 early votes (261 advance in-person, 8 absentee by mail) to Nixon’s 114 votes (112 advance in-person, 2 absentee by mail). District 3 has 3 unresolved advance in-person votes.
- District 4: Three candidates are running for the seat vacated by Keith Jenkins: Mike Alamo, Dexter Newby, and Joel Nicholson, Jr. In early voting, Newby got 259 votes (248 advance in-person, 11 absentee by mail); Alamo got 77 votes (74 advance in-person, 3 absentee by mail); and Nicolson got 52 votes (50 advance in-person, 2 absentee by mail). District 4 also had 6 unresolved write-in advance in-person votes.
- District 5: Three candidates are running for the seat vacated by Karl A. Riles: Henry L. Covington, Eric L. Hollis, and José Antonio Ortiz. In early voting, Ortiz took 247 votes (244 advance in-person, 3 absentee by mail); Hollis took 112 votes (97 advance in-person, 15 absentee by mail); and Covington took 86 votes (all cast advance in-person). One advance in-person write-in was unresolved.
Where to Vote: Riceboro Youth Center, 5649 S. Coastal Hwy. (directions)
Mayor Christopher Stacy ran unopposed for reelection, taking 177 votes (100%). In early voting, Stacy got 63 early in-person and 14 absentee by mail votes, for 77 early votes in all. Two advance votes and one Election Day vote were unresolved.
Riceboro’s new city council includes incumbent David Miller (157 votes, 19.55%); incumbent John Young (149 votes, 18.56%); incumbent Louise R. Brown (142 votes, 17.68%); and challenger Tim Akra (19 votes, 14.82%), who edged out incumbent Pearlie Axson (117 votes, 14.57%) by two votes. Joseph Wynn got 69 votes (8.59%) and Rosemary Houston took 50 votes (6.23%). More than one-third of Riceboro voters turned out for this race: 218 of 636 registered voters, or 34.28%.
Miller led the pack in early voting, with 52 advance in-person votes and 14 absentee by mail (66 total). Brown and Young each took 62 early votes: Brown had 49 early in-person and 13 absentee by mail, while Young took 53 early in-person and 9 absentee by mail.Next was Axson with 41 early in-person and 10 absentee byu mail for a total of 51 early votes, followed by Akra with 41 advance in-person and 8 absentee by mail totaling 49 early votes, Wynn with 30 advance in-person and 2 absentee by mail for 32 early votes, and Houston with 17 advance in-person votes and none via absentee by mail.
Where to Vote: Victory Baptist Church Social Hall, 1933 Talmadge Road (directions)
Incumbent Larry D. Baker (200 votes, 39.22%) will face Mayor Pro Tem Sarah B. Hayes (130 votes, 25.49%) in a runoff, amid recent criticism over the city’s financial woes. Councilman Charlie L. Anderson got 96 votes (18.82%), and Paulette D. Jamisomn got 84 votes (16.47). Voter turnout was a whopping 21.22%, with 513 of Walthourville’s 2,418 registered voters casting ballots.
Amid Walthourville’s financial crisis, three new faces won seats on the five-member council: Mitchell Boston, Patrick Underwood, and Robert “Bob” Dodd.
- Post 1: Mitchell Boston upset incumbent James Hendry, 268 (54.47%) to 224 (45.53%). In early voting, Boston took 135 votes (127 advance in-person, 8 absentee by mail) to Hendry’s 116 (113 advance in-person, 3 absentee by mail). One unresolved write-in vote was cast today for Post 1.
- Post 2: Patrick Underwood beat former mayor Daisy S. Pray, 269 (54.02%) to 229 (45.98%). faces Patrick Underwood. In early voting, Underwood led with 138 votes (134 advance in-person, 4 absentee by mail), while Pray took 118 (111 advance in-person, 7 absentee by mail.) Two unresolved write-in votes were cast today for Post 2.
- Post 3: Incumbent Bridgette Kelly easily beat challenger Alan Stewart, 297 (60.2%) to 196 (39.76%). In early voting, Kelly led with 151 votes (144 advance in-person, 7 absentee by mail), while Stewart took 101 votes (97 advance in person, 4 absentee by mail). One unresolved write-in vote was cast today for Post 3.
- Post 4: Councilwoman Luciria Luckey Lovette ran unopposed, winning 427 votes (100%). In early voting, Lovette got 208 votes (200 advance in person, 8 absentee by mail). Post 4 also saw 27 unresolved write-ins (7 on Election Day, 17 advance in-person, and 3 absentee by mail).
- Post 5: Robert “Bob” Dodd beat Patricia Green, 258 (52.12%) to 237 (47.88%) for the seat vacated by Mayor Pro Tem Hayes. In early voting, Dodd got 138 votes (131 advance in person, 7 absentee by mail) to Green’s 114 votes (110 advance in-person, 4 absentee by mail). One unresolved write-in vote was cast on Election Day.
In early voting, Baker led the pack with 102 (101 advance in-person, 1 absentee by mail); followed by Hayes with 74 (68 advance in person, 6 absentee by mail); Anderson with 46 (42 advance in-person, 4 absentee by mail); and Jamison with 39 (all advance in person votes).
If you need more information or help with the voting process on Election Day, you can contact these resources:
To report “questionable election-related activity,” you can call the Georgia Secretary of State’s Voter Fraud Hotline at 877-725-9797. Note that an elections investigator may contact you to ask for more information, and that credible allegations may be forwarded to the State Elections Board or state attorney general’s office. You also can report alleged voter fraud and upload evidence online at https://sos.ga.gov/form/stop-voter-fraud.
For questions about elections in Liberty County, contact the Liberty County Elections and Registration office at 912-876-3310 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.