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Candidates Nikita Jackson and Ann Williamson-Morrison will face each other in a run-off in two weeks in their bids to win Rock Hill’s Ward 5 City Council seat.
Jackson, a sales associate at Agape Medical Mart in Rock Hill, led a pool of three candidates on Tuesday, capturing 150 votes, including one absentee ballot.
With 138 votes, Williamson-Morrison, a retired flight attendant and teacher, edged out a third candidate, Mildred A. Moore.
Because no candidate claimed 50 percent of the votes plus one, the top two contenders will compete again on Oct. 29 in a run-off election to represent the southern Rock Hill district.
They are hoping to succeed longtime Councilman Osbey Roddey, who is not seeking re-election. He announced earlier this year that he will retire in January after 24 years on council.
On Tuesday, Jackson took 35 percent of the vote, while Williamson-Morrison took 33 percent.
Moore, a retired teacher and English professor, captured 135 votes, including one absentee ballot, to claim 32 percent of the Ward 5 votes.
Tuesday’s Ward 5 election attracted 421 voters – less than 6 percent of registered voters in the district.
The district includes many homes and businesses in southern Rock Hill, such as those along Albright Road and Saluda Street and near South Pointe High, Saluda Trail Middle, Oakdale Elementary and Sylvia Circle Elementary schools. Parts of Crawford Road, Heckle Boulevard and downtown Rock Hill also are part of Ward 5.
Of the eight polling places used for the election, the Edgewood voting precinct on Russell Street recorded the best turnout, with 155 people voting.
Jackson carried the Edgewood precinct with 58 votes. Moore was close behind there with 55.
Williamson-Morrison won two of the eight precincts and tied with Jackson at the Rock Hill No. 6 precinct – the Parent Smart office on East Black Street.
Moore carried the Northside precinct on Annafrel Street, capturing four of six votes cast there.
The Highland Park precinct had the worst turnout on Tuesday with no one voting at Belleview Elementary School. Poll workers there said 115 people were registered at the precinct.
A few people showed up at Belleview, the workers said, only to discover they were not a part of Rock Hill’s Ward 5.
Tuesday’s election was the first in which Rock Hill voters were asked to show a photo ID.
S.C. lawmakers passed the voter ID law in 2011, and a federal court upheld it last year.
Provisional ballots were available on Tuesday at polling places for voters who did not have an ID.
Throughout the day, several precincts reported that no voters needed the provisional ballots because everyone had an ID.
York County election officials set up a mobile voter registration photo ID card booth at Rock Hill’s City Hall while polls were open.
By 4 p.m. on Tuesday, more than 75 people had stopped by to get a free voter registration card.
Chamele Webb, 32, was one Ward 5 resident who took advantage of the photo ID card booth.
Webb took the time to vote on Tuesday, she said, because she feels everyone should exercise their right to vote.
Voter Christian Mobley, 22, brought her daughter to vote with her on Tuesday at Rock Hill’s City Hall. She voted for Williamson-Morrison, she said, because she likes her views on education.
A Winthrop University student, Mobley is studying to be a teacher.
Mobley thinks more people should have voted in the City Council race, she said, because it’s important to exercise such rights.
After one of her Winthrop professors mentioned Tuesday’s election in class, Mobley says, she was motivated to participate.
At Tuesday’s busiest precinct, Edgewood, Roddey and his wife voted in the late afternoon.
Roddey’s advice for Ward 5’s next representative, he said, is to focus on her district’s issues but also remember to serve the entire city of Rock Hill.
While only Ward 5 residents can vote in the Ward 5 election, the successful City Council candidate should remember that she owes an “allegiance” to all Rock Hill residents, Roddey said.
Election officials say all registered Ward 5 voters will be eligible to vote in the Oct. 29 run-off.
There are at least 7,222 people registered to vote in Ward 5, according to county election data.
Census data from 2010 shows that there are 7,869 residents of voting age living in Ward 5.
Nearly 69 percent of Ward 5’s residents who are old enough to vote are black – the largest percentage of black residents of voting age among the city’s districts.
By contrast, about 15 percent residents who are old enough to vote are black in Ward 4 – the lowest percentage compared to other Rock Hill wards. And about 63 percent of residents who are old enough to vote are black in Ward 1 – the second highest percentage among the city’s council wards.
Overall, Ward 5 has the highest percentage of black residents at about 71 percent, according to 2010 census data.
The winner of Ward 5’s race will take office in January 2014 and receive a salary of $16,348.
Rock Hill Mayor Doug Echols and councilmen John Black from Ward 4 and Jim Reno from Ward 6 will begin new terms next year. All three ran unopposed.
Anna Douglas • 803-329-4068