Court costs increase referendum: Yes

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 7, 2000

Voters in Butler County decided overwhelmingly in favor of increased court costs to fund a new county jail, capital improvements and economic development projects in the county during Tuesday's primary elections.

By an unofficial count of 2,630 in favor, and 1,385 opposed, the special referendum to add $45 to court costs in the county to provide funding for the jail has passed.

In the race for Second Judicial Circuit Judge, Edward McFerrin carried Butler County with 3,543 to opponent John Folmar's 804. With 18 of 19 precincts in Crenshaw County reporting, McFerrin carried that area by a narrow margin with 1,350 votes to Folmar's 1,311. As of press time Lowndes County results were unavailable.

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In the Butler County Commission race, two incumbents are headed for runoffs in three weeks while another failed to gain the democratic nomination for the seat.

Sitting commissioner Leroy Johnson Sr., was edged out by opponent Jessie McWilliams in the District Two race. McWilliams garnered 531 votes while Johnson was able to capture only 409. Candidate Phillip Hartley from that district received 51 votes.

McWilliams will now face republican candidate Betty Snowden in the November general election.

District One commission Gary Hanks will face Charles "Bobby" DeShields in a runoff election in three weeks. Hanks captured 387 votes in district one while DeShields received 322. Other candidates in the district included Gary McInvale, 103 votes; James Stuckey, 108; Dale Wood, 34; and Joseph Wright, 40.

Voters in District Five will also head to the polls again in three weeks to cast their votes in a runoff between incumbent Tex Kervin and opponent William Phillips.

Phillips was close to declaring an overall victory until a last minute push for Kervin when the McKenzie precinct was counted.

Kervin ended the race with 300 votes and Phillips received 374. Other candidates for district five included Debra Halford, 69; Effie Harris, 26; Thomas Lowery 101; and Steve Stuckey, 40.

Voters in District Three chose Vernon Herring over Gene Gibson to received the Democratic nomination for county commissioner. Herring captured 495 votes to Gibson's 341, and will now face incumbent Republican Joe Hendrix in the November general election.

Officials estimate that just more than 30 percent of Butler County's 14,689 registered voters cast their voice during the primary. The average turnout state wide during primary elections is 29 percent.