HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - We've all heard it a million times, but the race for a seat on the Hancock County School Board proves it: Every vote counts.
Tuesday night's election for that seat ended in a dead heat with the candidates tied at 575 votes each. After the affidavit ballots were counted Wednesday afternoon, the winner emerged with one additional vote.
For the candidates and their families, it was a nail biting experience. Ben Taylor, admittedly, was a basket of nerves.
"It's a very nervous feeling. I haven't eaten; I haven't been able to eat, butterflies. It's unlike anything I've ever experienced," said Taylor.
The signs of that nervous anxiety appeared visible through his body language. Tapping of the feet, constant knuckle popping, and signs of unrest.
His opponent in the race, Danita Ladner- Holladay, was tied up at work and was unable to witness the final vote count. But two of her brothers were there to be her eyes and ears. They also appeared to be on pins and needles.
"A little nervous, no doubt," said Pat Ladner. "If I said there wasn't a little nervousness, I'd be telling it wrong."
Then came the news everyone was waiting to hear.
"Danita Holladay, 579. Ben Taylor, 578," announced an election commissioner.
"It was a close one, but at the end of the day I think both of us had the best interest of the kids of Hancock County at heart and I wish her the best, I think she will do a great job," Taylor said.
Danita Ladner-Holladay told WLOX News by phone, "Mr. Taylor is a good man and to be that close to him in the polls is an honor. He's a good man. Either way, our county would have won."
She said it's a reminder that one vote can make a difference.
"Never take your privilege to vote for granted. You have to go out and vote."
Danita Ladner- Holladay will begin serving her school board term in January.