Sent to me by my informant in Morganton:
Well you guessed it ! Mel Cohen sailed to a HUGE victory over challenger Robert Griner on Tuesday. Newcomer to city council Sidney Simmons - hand-picked by Mel Cohen also won BIG on Tuesday. Tuesday's Vote brought out 1,457 voters, 919 during the early absentee period and a whopping 547 on Tuesday. 35 provisional votes will be added to the overall total, but even with about 1,492 votes, the turnout percentage will still be less than 15% !
Like we have discussed, this low turnout problem is something that apparently affects our entire area, especially when we look at what is at stake.At 547 votes divided by 13 hours (6:30 am - 7:30 pm), about 42 votes an hour or 21 per hour in the two precincts designated for the October 11th vote. Considering Morganton has 10,153 registered voters this number is really infinitesimal. I heard more than 500 people tell me that they did not support the Mayor prior to this election, but the majority of those people apparently sdidn't even care to leave their home to vote on Tuesday.
So now Mayor Cohen gets his wish to complete 30 years as Mayor of Morganton Sidney Simmons replaces Larry Whisnant, who recently authored a letter in the Morganton News Herald endorsing Sidney Simmons by saying he had known Sidney....the entire of his life, using this incorrect grammer in his letter.
Larry Whisnant didn't finish high school, but managed to work for Morganton Public Safety for 30 years and then get elected to City Council in 1994. He served 17 years as Morganton City Councilman...without a high school diploma. Betcha can't say that about Hickory City Council !!!
Mr. Simmons opponent in District 1 was Candidate Ron Lewis, the retired County Manager of Burke County having served as county manager in (6) NC counties with more than 30 years of experience.
The Hound: Good to see that the percentage turnout in Morganton was double what we saw in Hickory during the last go around in 2009. Yes I am being sarcastic, because this is pathetic. The even sadder thing is that I am sure that those numbers will dwarf what we see in the upcoming coronation of the three unopposed candidates here in the city of Hickory. During the 2009 election, we saw an 8.5% turnout when less than 2,300 of Hickory's 27,000 registered voters cared to vote. I also notice that it appears that Morganton also has the Modified At large electoral system.
I don't know much about the Morganton's governance, but it sure seems to be indicative of the political system in our area. This is a symptom of a big problem. But as has been pointed out, "The people get the form of government that they deserve." If they choose not to participate in the system, then they really shouldn't expect much from their leadership. Although this isn't an endorsement of support for the leadership of Morganton. It is an endorsement that they can do whatever they please, because apparently nobody cares.