After a nail-biting finish, Ray Wannamaker Sabalis came out on top as the Democratic candidate for the Orangeburg County Council District 6 seat.
Sabalis bested Deloris Frazier in Tuesday’s runoff election with 557 votes to Frazier’s 538 votes.
“Thank you to the voters of Orangeburg County for the confidence they have placed in me,” Sabalis said.
“I have appreciated the opportunity to participate in this primary process,” she added. “I have met so many people committed to the well-being of Orangeburg County and its citizens.”
She will face Republican Josh Ridley in the Nov. 28 special election for the seat previously held by Clyde Livingston, who died in July. There are 13 months remaining on the term.
Sabalis and Frazier were the top vote-getters among the six who ran for the Democratic nomination. Neither got more than 50 percent of the vote, spurring the runoff.
Sabalis said she has a great respect for her fellow primary candidates' willingness to “put themselves forward in the continuing effort to secure the future of Orangeburg County.”
“I look forward to the upcoming campaign and to the election in November,” she said.
Frazier said, “She’s the winner and I congratulate her.”
She accepts the results and “I personally feel there’s no need” for a recount.
Frazier thanked God, her family and every person who worked with her during the campaign process
“To the haters, I love you too,” Frazier joked.
Tuesday evening, Sabalis had just one vote over Frazier. She had received 535 votes to Frazier’s 534.
A final tally had to wait until Wednesday, however, since a voting machine containing uncounted ballots broke at Ward 8, which votes at William J. Clark Middle School.
Orangeburg County Voter Registration Director Aurora Smalls took the machine to a technician in Florence to get the votes from it on Wednesday.
Smalls said the machine “just died.”
“Sometimes machines fail,” she added.
Smalls said voters in the county have no need to worry about machine failures in future elections as this seemed to be a random occurrence.
“This is the first time we’ve had a machine to go down like that,” she said.
Smalls noted that the machines are under a maintenance contract and are serviced as often as possible but there is a cost to the county every time.
They were last serviced in 2015 when the motherboards were replaced.
The votes will be certified today at 11 a.m. at the County Administrative building.