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 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. 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, with 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. “Too long have SSEMC customers been left in the dark when it comes to this expensive coal plant investment. When an average member has questions the EMC makes you jump thru hoops to get an answer, but perhaps we’ve shaken things up enough to finally get some answers.”
“Families and businesses in the SSEMC service area cannot afford to take a chance on future rate increases when the need for another power plant is questionable,” said Kaye Shipley, the candidate from Henry County. “I think our candidacies helped to push for this very public announcement around Plant Washington. I plan to continue to push for a full investigation of Plant Washington. As a customer I want to make sure we are investigating the most affordable energy options and eliminating closed-door dealings.”
Shortly after the candidates announced their plans to run, Snapping Shoals EMC announced that they would no longer spend any money on Plant Washington but would maintain a partnership with the developer of the plant.