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County voters say no to wheel tax, Unicoi passes package store referendum

While President Barack Obama beat out his competitor Gov. Mitt Romney on a national level, Unicoi County voters had many other items to consider on the 2012 election ballot.
In Unicoi County, President Obama received 1,909 votes (26.9 percent of the vote), while Romney received 5,028 (70.8 percent).
In the race for United States Senator, Bob Corker received 75.7 percent of the vote, which is a total of 4,935 votes. Congressman Phil Roe received 4,825 votes, which was 74.7 percent of the total ballots cast. Corker and Roe were both re-elected.
Also re-elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives from the 4th District was Kent Williams. Williams received 2,359 votes in Unicoi County. His opponent, Thomas Gray, received 3,549 votes in the county. Carter County voters propelled Williams to the victory.
Unicoi County’s referendum for a wheel tax was not passed with a total of 845 voting against it and 695 voting for the tax.
In the town of Erwin, Doris Hensley beat Glenn Tilson for the title of mayor. Hensley received 1,347 votes (62.7 percent) compared to Tilson’s 790 total votes (36.8 percent).
Hensley said she is looking forward to helping oversee current projects through to completion.
“I’m really honored to be selected as the town of Erwin’s mayor,” Hensley said. “It’s humbling to see the amount of confidence that the voters have placed in me and I will work really hard to see that their confidence in me is well-founded.”
In the town of Unicoi, incumbent Johnny Lynch was re-elected with 960 votes (62.4 percent) compared to challenger John Mosley who received 576 votes (37.4 percent).
“It’s a good feeling to know that people have enough confidence in me to allow me another four years to serve them,” Lynch said. “It’s been an interesting election and campaign. We’re glad it’s over and we’re anxious to move on with our projects that we are in the middle of now. I’d like to thank everyone who supported me.”
The town of Unicoi also passed the package store referendum with 845 voting in favor of the referendum; 695 voted against the referendum.
“I think most of the liquor store regulations are handled by the state,” Lynch said. “Whatever ordinances that we need to create to honor that we will. Everyone on the board took a neutral stance on it because it is split and because we represent everybody. We will do all that we can to make sure it is put into place legally and effectively.”
Two aldermen were also selected for each town in Unicoi County.
In the town of Erwin, Gary Edwards was re-elected to his current seat and current Unicoi County Commissioner Sue Jean Wilson will join the Erwin panel.
In the town of Unicoi, Dwight Bennett and Doug Hopson, who ran unopposed, were re-elected for the town’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen.
Compared to 64 percent voter turnout in 2008, Administrator of Elections Sarah Bailey said voter turnout was the same this year with a slight variation because 300 more citizens have registered to vote compared to last election.
The public count before provisional ballots were considered was 7,186.
Vote totals so far will not include provisional ballots cast on election day, Bailey said. The state has extended the deadline for provisional ballots until Nov. 16. Bailey said 21 provisional ballots were cast.
All voting totals are unofficial until the Election Commission convenes to certify the results of the election on Monday, Nov. 19 at 10:30 a.m.

By Kayla Carter
Staff Writer
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