Lyon County votes counted by hand
September 5, 2002
A broken voting machine forced Lyon County officials to count ballots by hand Tuesday, and when the tally was over early Wednesday morning the stage was set for Charlie Duke and Sid Smith to square off Nov. 5 for the sheriff’s job.
The hand count also revealed Lee Anne Chaffin and Barbara S. Johnson won four-year terms on the Lyon County school board and Robin Harina and Jim “Cowboy” Snellings were elected to the Silver Springs General Improvement District board.
Chaffin won handily with 2,477 votes or 46.9 percent of the ballots cast. Johnson garnered 2,596 votes or 31.1 percent. Chaffin and Johnson faced two challengers each.
Harina also easily won election with 199 votes or 43.4 percent of the ballots cast in her race. Snellings eked out a victory with 82 votes or 17.9 percent — just 10 more votes than his nearest challenger.
But the most talked about race in Lyon County saw the incumbent sheriff garner 2,032 votes, or 34.7 percent of the ballots cast, compared to Duke’s 1,523 votes or 26 percent.
Smith, Lyon sheriff for 10 years, said Wednesday he was pleased to see he was the top vote getter in the six-man race.
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“Obviously, I appreciate it. It makes me feel good to have that much support out there. I’m relieved this part is over, however.”
Smith said that while the election remains a challenge, he would be kept busy running the sheriff’s department.
“We have a lot of irons in the fire to keep me busy, including negotiations for a law enforcement contract with Fernley and planning for a new sheriff’s department complex,” he said.
“As far as the general election goes, I will just have to stay out there and keep working hard.”
Smith’s challenger, Charlie Duke, a retired 28-year Los Angeles policeman, said he is ready to move forward in the next phase of his attempt to unseat the incumbent.
“Step one is over. Now the work begins all over again,” he said. “I want to talk issues. The big thing is we need to look at how to improve Lyon County law enforcement, at how to keep our deputies, work on resolving drug and other crime problems. We need to encourage the citizens to work with the sheriff’s office to help implement these improvements.”
Continuing on his pre-primary theme, Duke said he hopes some debates can be arranged between he and Smith.
“I hope this can be an issue based race and stay away from the side issues that are not related to or good for Lyon County law enforcement.”