PEMBROKE — During what Lumbee tribal elections officials are calling a “very low” turnout, tribal members went to the polls on Tuesday and re-elected one incumbent and elected six new Tribal Council members.
According to unofficial results, the only incumbent out of three on the ballot to be re-elected was William Maiden, of District 13, which encompasses Cumberland County, Parkton, Lumber Bridge and North St. Pauls. Incumbents Larry Campbell, District 7, which is South Pembroke and Union, and Danita Locklear, District 12, the representative for Maxton, Alfordsville and Scotland County, both were defeated. A fourth incumbent, Pearlean Revels, of District 3, Lumberton, was removed from the ballot as a result of a recent Lumbee Supreme Court order.
Carvicous Barfield, chairwoman of the Lumbee Elections Board, called Tuesday’s voter turnout of 1,694 out of approximately 32,000 Lumbees eligible to cast ballots — about 5 percent — “pitiful.” Voters cast ballots for six contested seats on the 21-member council, while a seventh seat, District 8, which is Burnt Swamp, went to Daniel Jones, who had no competition.
The District 8 seat is currently held by Steve Sampson. Sampson could not seek re-election because he has served two consecutive three-year terms.
In the District 13 race, Maiden defeated newcomer Johnny Chavis with 121, or 67 percent, of the 181 votes cast. Chavis received 60 votes.
In District 7, Larry Campbell lost his seat to Jan Lowery, a health educator currently employed as a program coordinator at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Lowery received 186, or 64 percent, of the 292 votes and Campbell received 106.
Incumbent Danita Locklear, the District 12 representative, lost her re-election bid to Areatha Patterson, of Scotland County, by 18 votes, 139 to 121.
Locklear declined to make any comment after her defeat was evident.
“I’ll comment when the process is complete,” she said.
In District 6, Larry Townsend outpolled three other candidates to win the seat currently held by Larry Chavis, who could not seek re-election.
Townsend received 248, or 49 percent, of the 508 votes cast. He was followed by Sheila Godwin, 180; Michael Chavis, 53; and Scott Bell, 27.
“I think people are looking for new leadership,” Townsend said. “It was interesting the comments I heard from people when I was campaigning. They wanted to know what was wrong that people (in the government) can’t work together.”
Townsend said that he does not have any “preconceived agenda” as he joins the council, but said that he will push for government business to be conducted in public. He also said that he will promote public participation in tribal affairs.
“Democracy is not a spectator sport,” he said. “People need to participate.”
In District 2, Janie Oxendine McFarland won with 116, or 41 percent, of the 281 votes cast. She defeated Barbara Dial Hunt, who received 96 votes and Francis Chavis with 69 votes.
The seat, which represents Back Swamp, Fairmont and Smyrna, is currently held by Louise Mitchell. Mitchell could not seek re-election.
In District 3, Al Locklear placed first in a three-way race, capturing 142, or 77 percent, of the 184 votes cast. The other candidates were Renee Kerns, who received 37 votes, and Erik Oxendine, with with five votes.
Elections officials said that 311 of the 462 absentee ballots requested by voters are included in the candidate vote totals. Barfield, however, said that provisional votes are not included in candidate totals.
“We don’t touch provisional ballots unless a candidate contacts us and asks us to count them,” she said. “They could or could not change the results of an election.”
Barfield said that candidates have until 5 p.m. Monday to raise any concerns they may have about the election results.