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Sherwood takes care of business, keep North Little Rock Electric

ABOVE: Kevin Johnson, one of Sherwood’s advertising sign entrepreneurs, displayed a sign during the days approaching the Tuesday election trying to encourage city voters to cast ballots against Ordinance 1953. Johnson said he was paid by opponents of Ordinance 1953 to advertising against the statute. LEFT: Sherwood Mayor Virginia Hillman and Alderman Marina Brooks on Friday show signs of support for Ordinance 1953 at the early voting site of the Jack Evans Senior Citizens Center. (Photos by Greg Rayburn)
ABOVE: Kevin Johnson, one of Sherwood’s advertising sign entrepreneurs, displayed a sign during the days approaching the Tuesday election trying to encourage city voters to cast ballots against Ordinance 1953. Johnson said he was paid by opponents of Ordinance 1953 to advertising against the statute. LEFT: Sherwood Mayor Virginia Hillman and Alderman Marina Brooks on Friday show signs of support for Ordinance 1953 at the early voting site of the Jack Evans Senior Citizens Center. (Photos by Greg Rayburn)
ABOVE: Kevin Johnson, one of Sherwood’s advertising sign entrepreneurs, displayed a sign during the days approaching the Tuesday election trying to encourage city voters to cast ballots against Ordinance 1953. Johnson said he was paid by opponents of Ordinance 1953 to advertising against the statute. LEFT: Sherwood Mayor Virginia Hillman and Alderman Marina Brooks on Friday show signs of support for Ordinance 1953 at the early voting site of the Jack Evans Senior Citizens Center. (Photos by Greg Rayburn)
ABOVE: Kevin Johnson, one of Sherwood’s advertising sign entrepreneurs, displayed a sign during the days approaching the Tuesday election trying to encourage city voters to cast ballots against Ordinance 1953. Johnson said he was paid by opponents of Ordinance 1953 to advertising against the statute. LEFT: Sherwood Mayor Virginia Hillman and Alderman Marina Brooks on Friday show signs of support for Ordinance 1953 at the early voting site of the Jack Evans Senior Citizens Center. (Photos by Greg Rayburn)

Sherwood voters on Tuesday by a 69-31 percent margin decided to maintain the status quo and support Ordinance 1953 which will keep North Little Rock Electric as the electric provider to about 7,000 city households for the next 25 years.

“I am very pleased,” said Sherwood Mayor Virginia Hillman. “This issue has been going on in Sherwood for about a year and now we can get on to important city business.”

A total of 2,779 of Sherwood’s 18,608 registered voters cast ballots in the special election. Of that total, 1,921 voted to support Ordinance 1953 while 858 voted against the measure.

Don Berry, chair of COST, which stands for Citizens of Sherwood Together, said he was happy to see about 2,800 city residents come out and vote in a special election.

“People should get involved and not just during elections,” Berry said.

COST was the driving force earlier this year to amass about 1,400 signatures that recalled Ordinance 1953 to put it before a citywide vote.

Berry said he is proud of the COST volunteers who braved the bad winter weather and got enough signatures to get the issue on the Tuesday ballot.

“A lot of people put in a lot of time and effort,” Berry said.

Hillman said she wasn’t surprised that a large majority of city voters supported the ordinance.

Hillman said numerous people had told her that some people who signed the petitions didn’t know what they were signing and others said some people who circulated the petitions did not communicate effectively exactly what the ballot initiative would be about.

From early on during Election Day until the counting of the last ballot, it appeared that Ordinance 1953 was going to be endorsed strongly by the public.

There were 774 early voting and absentee ballots cast, which represented 4.16 percent of the registered Sherwood voters. In the pre-Election Day competition, 593 early and absentee votes were cast for Ordinance 1953 compared to 180 votes against, which represents 76.71 percent who voted to support Ordinance 1953 compared to 23.29 who voted against, according to election results released by the Pulaski County Election Commission. The majority of absentee ballots supported Ordinance 1953. According to election results, there were 24 absentee ballots cast to support the ordinance while there were six votes against Ordinance 1953.

Melinda Allen, director of elections for the Pulaski County Election Commission, said early and absentee ballots were counted by 2 p.m. on Tuesday. Combing both the early votes and absentee ballots, supporting the passage of Ordinance 1953 was leading by 413 votes before precinct ballots even started to be counted Tuesday evening after polls closed at 7:30 p.m. Within about 20 minutes after the first precinct ballots arrived at the election office in downtown Little Rock, the election results were known.

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