Write-in candidates win AB town council seats

Two write-in candidates have won seats on the Atlantic Beach town council, now that the votes cast Tuesday were certified.

After a number of challenged votes were counted, the two write-ins defeated two incumbents.

Both of the new council-members elect say they want to end the bickering that has marked many council meetings. But with protests planned over the election results, it appears the bickering isn't over yet.

39 votes cast on Tuesday were challenged, with most of the challengers claiming that the people who cast those ballots didn't have proof they live in Atlantic Beach.

The town's election commission accepted most of the challenged ballots and threw others out. When all votes were tallied, two new council members emerged: Windy Price and Carolyn Cole, both write-ins.

Cole is a former Atlantic Beach town manager, who says she wants to bring professionalism to town government.

"We are a municipality, we have a charter, we are a government and we've got to stop treating it like it's someone's family business and it's someone's game to play," said Carolyn Cole, Atlantic Beach Council-Elect.

Price filed papers to be a candidate, but was removed from the ballot before this week's election after her residency was challenged.

Her opponents even hired a private investigator to dig up evidence she didn't live in the town. Nonetheless, the election commission accepted her vote and counted more votes in her favor than for any other candidate.

Price says if everyone on council does their job, the squabbling will end.

"I believe that individuals got to get to a point where they can let go of their personal differences with one another and just get up and do exactly what you was elected to do, to represent the people," said Windy Price.

Defeated incumbents Charlene Taylor and Josephine Isom say they plan to formally protest the election results.

The election commission chairperson says they have the right to do that, but the voting process was fair.

"We make sure that people get heard, that's their right," said Alice Graham, with the Atlantic Beach Election Commission.

The formal protest to the election results will be heard by the election commission Saturday.

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