SEBRING - A year ago Lenard Carlisle ran for Sebring City Council and lost by four votes. This year, his second attempt was a charm.
Sebring residents elected Carlisle, incumbent Bud Whitlock and Mark Stewart, a member of the Community Redevelopment Agency board of directors, to fill the three open seats at the city council elections Tuesday.
The unofficial vote totals were: Stewart, 305; Whitlock, 281; Carlisle, 186; MaryAnn Lewis, 158; Nadine Elliott Tedstone, 140; Marty Roepstorff, 132; and Rob Horne, 120.
Under election rules, the three candidates who had the most votes won the seats and will serve three-year terms.
Election turnout was expected to be heavier than last year's election. But, nevertheless, it wasn't anywhere near what it would have been if all the registered voters in Sebring had voted.
Bryan S. Belcher, who has lived in Sebring for nine years and who cast a vote this year, said he believes the turnout would be better if the election were moved to November. He said he believes people just don't turn out for a small election.
Still, Jan Jones, a pollworker at the Sebring Recreation Club, one of four polling places, said that by noon more than 50 people had voted there. That's better than last year, she said.
More than 50 people had also voted at the Sebring Masonic Lodge, said Paul Hinman, a poll worker. "It's better than it was last year."
Horne and his wife, Diane, were among the voters in the morning at the Sebring Masonic Lodge.
"It's in the Lord's hands now," Horne said of the election.
Jack Kurtz, another voter, said he didn't vote last year because he didn't know the election was happening.
This year, he said, almost the same thing happened.
"I didn't know it was coming up until this lady stopped by my house and told me about it," he said.
It was assured this election that two new council members would be elected as council members John Clark and Andrew Fells did not seek re-election.
Of the six candidates who are not incumbents, three had run for political office. Carlisle ran last year for a council seat. Lewis has run for school board and Tedstone has run for county commission.
The election also was for mayor and city clerk. But John Shoop was the only candidate to replace Mayor George Hensley, who did not seek re-election. And Kathy Haley ran for re-election as city clerk without opposition.