Machine mishap makes for long night

Election officials for Chelsea had to endure a long night after a voting machine broke, forcing them to hand-feed ballots into another machine.

As a result, election tallies didn’t come in until about 9:45 p.m., long after many other Shelby County elections.

Earl Niven doesn’t mind, though. The incumbent mayor can now add four more years to his 12 already in office.

Niven, who had 842 votes, defeated challenger David Birdsong, who had 705 votes.

Niven said the first thing on his agenda was to take a weeklong vacation. After that, it’s back to the business of being mayor.

“The first thing is the training of the new planning commission,” he said. “Then we’re going to be working real strong to develop the new budget. We’ll be working with an architect on the new fire station.”

He congratulated Birdsong’s supporters and asked that they feel free to discuss city issues with him.

“We’re trying to meet all the needs of the city of Chelsea,” he said. “Even though you think you’re meeting the best needs of the city, there are other people who look at the issues differently.”

Birdsong said he was excited to support Niven’s administration and said he hoped he would be involved with city government activities.

“I would like to get involved with this administration and do whatever I can to move this city forward,” he said. “I hope (Niven) will instill some of the ideas we were running on. We need to do a better job of using the wealth of talent we have here.”

In other Chelsea races, incumbent Tony Picklesimer took the Place 2 seat with 878 votes, defeating Cammie Sanders, who had 670 votes.

In Place 3, Robert Barnes, who got 810 votes, defeated incumbent James Ferguson, who received 610 votes.

In the last contested race, Place 4, incumbent Jeffrey “Mike” Denton got 761 votes and beat challenger Keith Roberts, who got 692 votes.

Ricky King in Place 1 and Juanita Champion in Place 5 ran unopposed.