Voters of the City of Bishop exercised their constitutional rights on Tuesday electing Jeff Griffiths and Jim Ellis to serve on the City Council for the next four years.
The final tally had incumbent Griffiths with 430 votes, newcomer Ellis with 350 and incumbent Bruce Dishion with 315 out of a total of 673 ballots cast.
The final numbers were preceded by a suspenseful 30 minutes of numbers slowly dribbling in after the polls from the city’s two precincts closed at 8 p.m.
The counting started at 8:15 and by 8:30, City Clerk Denise Gillespie had absentee and provisional ballot totals showing just two votes separating Ellis and Dishion, with 232 and 234 votes respectively. Griffiths received 283 votes.
City department heads, staff and candidates all stared at the electronic scoreboard waiting for results from the polls.
Minutes later, the results from Precinct One were in with Griffiths ahead with 75, Ellis with 69 and Dishion with 38. At 8:45, the results of Precinct Two were in with Griffiths receiving 67 votes, Ellis 45 and Dishion 39.
In the end, Griffiths and Ellis prevailed.
“It was nerve-wracking,” Ellis said post-election at City Hall. “I’m excited to start working with the city. I want to thank Bruce and Jeff and everyone that turned out.”
“It was a great turn-out,” Griffiths said. “It’s a pleasure to see so many people involved in the democratic process. I’m looking forward to working with the new council for the next four years.”
There was concern from staff at the city that the Internet would be down Tuesday, after an incident south of Big Pine. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power confirmed Tuesday that a crew had accidently dug up the Suddenlink fiber optic cable on Monday. Gillespie said that the connection was up and running without problem Tuesday morning.
“It’s very exciting. This is the culmination of everything we work for,” Kammi Foote, Inyo County clerk-recorder, said during the counting process.
Dishion said Wednesday that he thought the election went smoothly. “The results are what they are. I got enough votes to know that all my friends voted for me, what more could someone ask for?”
He added that he wishes the new council well and is sure that the city’s “excellent department heads and employees” will continue the great work they have always done.
The results have not tarnished Dishion’s love of Bishop or his motivation to continue volunteering in the community, he said.
On a final note, he said, “This will be the first time in 35 years that my wife Sherry and I can look at our own calendar to make plans and not the city’s.”
As for Griffiths and Ellis, they will be sworn into office at the March 14 City Council meeting.
“You’ve just signed yourself up for a ton of work,” Griffiths said to Ellis after the results were tallied.