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Incumbent District 1 Cairo City Councilman Lannis Thornton was successful in his bid for a fifth term on the city council in Tuesday’s runoff election, but his margin of victory was slim.
Thornton bested challenger Ann Williams by only 10 votes in unofficial returns, 144-134. Cairo Municipal Election Superintendent Dana W. Barfield said that three provisional ballots were cast that will be counted if they are determined to be legitimate, but if all three went to Williams it would not change the results of the election.
“I think I worked harder than that,” Councilman Thornton said commenting on this margin of victory.
Williams also expressed her disappointment with the voter turn out. “Need to get people out to vote. There should have been more people out,” she said.
According to Barfield, there are 1,234 registered voters in District 1 and only 278 voted in the runoff election.
While the turnout was low, nearly as many voted in the runoff as participated in the District 1 contest during the Nov. 5 general election. In the general election, 304 votes were cast with 120 going to Thornton, 105 to Williams and 79 to candidate Alicia Gurley.
“It was a hard fight. I thank the people in District 1. It ain’t pretty, but I still want to thank them for coming out to vote for me,” Councilman Thornton said.
Although Williams was unsuccessful in earning a seat on the city council, she said Tuesday night she has other work to do.
“The journey was a good journey. I’ve got other work to do. Not sure if I’m ever going to run again. It is time for change. That’s the main thing,” Williams said.
Of the 278 votes cast in the runoff, 196 were early votes and six were mail-out absentee ballots.
Ironically, Thornton and Williams were tied with 98 votes apiece in the advance in-person voting and 3 apiece with the mail-out absentee ballots. The election turned with the election day voting, with Thornton capturing 10 more votes, 43 to 33.
Poll Manager Sadie W. Voyles reported that the election went off Tuesday without any problems other than an extremely slow turnout. By 11 a.m. Tuesday morning, four hours after the polls opened, just 11 voters had cast ballots. A total of 76 votes had been cast when the polls closed Tuesday night at 7 p.m.
“It picked up some after lunch, but it was still a really low turnout,” the poll manager said.
Tuesday’s election was the last one that will be held locally using the old touch screen voting machines. New voting machines will be used in the Presidential Primary Election next spring.