2022 Election Recap: Probate Judge Paul Story impressed with voter turnout

Published 4:54 pm Wednesday, November 9, 2022

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Despite a minor hiccup that delayed reporting, Chambers County Probate Judge Paul Story read the unofficial results of the 2022 General Election for Chambers County just before 11 p.m. central time on Tuesday night. 

Jeff Nelson was declared the successor to retiring Sheriff Sid Lockhart, Jeff Jones retained his seat as coroner and the four mill ad valorem hospital tax was renewed with 64% of voters approving it.
Story told the onlookers gathered in the lobby of the Chambers County Courthouse that the delay was due to an error in the closing process at one of the polling stations.

“We had a little bit of an issue with one of our polling sites, myself and another individual had to go out and correct that,” Story said. “We’ve been trying to catch up with everybody

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By the time Story returned to the courthouse, all but three locations had arrived and Story and his team worked diligently to get results out as quickly as possible.

Overall, Story said he was pleased with the turnout and his team’s job throughout the day.

“The poll workers, inspectors, and chief clerks all did an amazing job, as usual, taking their time on a 14-plus hour day, making sure that the citizens had their right to vote,” Story told VTN. “I certainly thank the citizens for coming out in a turnout I never would have expected in this election.”

Out of 25,827 registered voters in Chambers County, 9,178 (35.53%) ballots were cast in Tuesday’s election. Straight party voting numbers favored Republicans with 57.22% (3,104), Democratic party ballots accounted for 42.27% (2,293), Libertarian party ballots at .52% (28), and 3,753 undervotes. Undervotes occur when the number of votes is less than the maximum number allowed for that election or when no vote is cast.

Race by Race breakdown

In the Chambers County Sheriff’s race, Republican nominee Jeff Nelson defeated Democratic nominee Jeff Blackstone with 67.19% of the vote, bringing in 6,125 votes. Nelson will replace Sheriff Sid Lockhart, who is retiring at the end of this term. Nelson’s term will begin on Jan. 23, 2023. 

Jeff Jones secured another term as Chambers County Coroner, defeating challenger Ricky Price with 60.67% (4,613) of the vote. This race also saw 1,571 undervotes. 

Alabama State Representative for District 38 incumbent Debbie Wood won decisively over Libertarian candidate Charles Temm, securing 9,144 votes between Chambers and Lee County voters to Temm’s 1,158.

Chambers County Commissioners David Eastridge, Debra Riley, and James Williams, Chambers County School District board members Jennifer Hunt and Vicki Leak, State Representative, District 37 Bob Fincher, State Senator, District 13, Randy Price, 5th Judicial Circuit District Attorney Mike Seagrest all faced no opposition.

The four mill ad valorem hospital tax was renewed with a resounding 5,025 (64.39%) of the vote, with 2,779 (35.61%) no votes and 1,372 undervotes. 

The tax was first approved in a countywide vote ten years ago and was up for renewal Tuesday.

According to EAMC-Lanier Administrator Greg Nichols, the hospital would have suffered the same fate as many rural hospitals during the last ten years had not Chambers County voters approved a four-mill tax to help keep it open.

“It would have been closed by now had it not been for this tax,” Nichols said at a recent Valley Lions Club meeting.