All three challengers who petitioned to get their names on the ballot for the Snapping Shoals EMC Board of Directors lost their bids in a landslide to the incumbents but brought higher than average turnout.
For Rockdale County, District 2, the candidate nominated by committee, G. Anthony Norton, had 2,157 votes while the candidate nominated by petition, Albert J. Roesel Jr., had 224 votes.
For District 3, DeKalb County, the candidate nominated by committee, Walter Johnson, had 2099 votes while the candidate nominated by petition, Cheryl Moore-Mathis, had 280 votes.
For District 4, Henry and Butts counties, the candidate nominated by committee, Gene Morris Jr., had 2082 votes while the candidate nominated by petition, Beverly Kaye Shipley, had 300 votes.
For District 1, which has Newton, Walton, Morgan and Jasper counties, the candidate nominated by committee was D.L. "Pete" Knox, who had no challenger.
About 2,700 people turned out or sent proxy votes to the SSEMC Annual meeting at the Georgia International Horse Park on Thursday. Last year, there were about 2,000 attendees. SSEMC serves about 95,000 customers.
Lines of voters stretched out the arena and down the road. At one point, organizers tried to close voting registration while about 200 members were still in line. However, the members in line were allowed to register and vote.
Out of the 2,700 votes were cast, about 1,720 of those members registered today to vote. About 980 voted by proxy.
This year's board of directors selection saw three write-in candidate challengers who ran on the issue of coal-powered Plant Washington.
The petition candidates had called for more transparency in EMC decisions, an independent review of a proposed coal-fired power plant, and protection from rate increases - especially for low and fixed-income families.
"We always knew this was going to be a tough election - beating an incumbent, especially one with the backing of a large company, is always tough," said Cheryl Moore-Mathis, the candidate from DeKalb County in a released statement. "Unfortunately, SSEMC's energy decisions and rates receive no scrutiny from the Public Service Commission - the board is the only line of defense for customers and it is pretty clear to me they don't want anyone who is willing to ask questions being elected."
"This is a loss for consumers and sunshine," said Albert Roesel the candidate from Rockdale County. "When an average member has questions, the EMC makes you jump through hoops to get an answer, but perhaps we've shaken things up enough to finally get some answers."
Shortly after the candidates announced their plans to run, Snapping Shoals EMC announced that they would no longer fund Plant Washington but would maintain a partnership with the developer of the plant.