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Guyton voters to head back to polls
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May 22 is election day. - photo by File illustration

GUYTON —  Guyton voters are headed back to the polls for runoff elections for the Post 1 and Post 2 Guyton City Council seats. Early voting for the Dec. 3 election ends Wednesday.

The Post 1 race features Tamela Mydell and Marshall Reiser, who finished in a 216-216 tie on Nov. 5.

Andy Harville and Hursula Pelote are the Post 2 candidates. Pelote won 202 votes to Harville’s 175 in a Nov. 5 race that featured two other names — Michael Gerwig and Sam Hartis.

Gerwig received 42 votes and Hartis withdrew a few days before the contest.

Two of the four runoff candidates — Mydell couldn’t be reached for comment — expressed a degree of frustration about the ballot-counting process. Results weren’t finalized until three days after the election.

“I think there’s too many people involved and the supervisor seems to have not a very clear system on how things are run,” Reiser said.

“I think that counting four hundred and something votes by hand and doing a tally was a very sloppy feat,” Pelote said. “It’s not a clean way to do this, especially when you have a race that’s so heavily reported.”

Harville had no qualms about the election, which used paper ballots.

“There’s really no way you can get these numbers wrong,” he said. “The transparency is there. You’re literally reading them out loud,. You have a room full of candidates and also a few citizens there, and they’re taking a tally along with them and it goes down a line of city employees and volunteers.”

Reiser, who agreed  with Harville that the counting was “transparent,” has some immediate goals if he emerges as the winner Tuesday.

“If elected, I would prepare by reaching out to current council to get a better idea of existing issues so I don’t go in cold and am aware of any surprises,” he said.

Reiser said his top priorities would be to, “establish my understanding with regard to the wastewater treatment plant. There seems to be some issues, not just with the debt, but with the existing capacity.”

He said he would also like to establish some permanence in the Guyton Police Department, which has had an interim chief for several months. The department recently added an officer, bring its total to two.

Pelote said that she would prepare for a council seat by reading the city charter. She also wants to bring closure to all the things left incomplete by the current council.

She shares Reiser;s goal to bolster the police department and intends to talk to residents about projects that interest them. One of her priorities is to examine the city’s wastewater treatment facility, whose capacity is limited because of the soil quality of much of its spray field.

Harville echoed some of Pelote’s concerns. He plans to confer with citizens and establish a relationship with the county.

He said that his top priorities would be the wastewater treatment plant and its debt, and the city budget. He said with the sewer bills almost doubling recently, there are a lot of unhappy residents.

Guyton’s polling station for the runoffs, which will be conducted by the Effingham County elections supervisor, is City Hall.