Every Vote Counts: Onley Mayoral Race Decided by One Vote - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Every Vote Counts: Onley Mayoral Race Decided by One Vote

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

ONLEY, Va.- It is a big deal when you win an election, and an even bigger deal when you only win by a single vote in Onley. In the town's race for mayor, Matt Hart edged out Billy Ferguson by the narrowest possible margin.

Hart won with 110 votes and Ferguson had 109. Accomack County's Registrar's Office said there were also 17 write-in votes. 

But that's not all that made this race so close, the two candidates were friends before the race and will be friends after, they both said. Now, there will be no recount, and the two will work together to brainstorm ideas to make the town even better. 

"Billy and I can shake hands and we're friends," said Matt Hart, who serves on the Town Council. "I want to listen to everything he has to say that we should do with the town because as mayor, as a leader that's what leaders and mayors should do."

Ferguson says he plans to pursue different ways to improve the town outside of a mayoral position. He says he plans on looking into ways that Onley can continue to grow.

"I'm sure we both would have done a good job, and I'm sure Matt will do a great job," Ferguson said. 

Ferguson says he has no doubts that the votes for the race are correct.

"There's enough of an electronic apparatus in place, and enough competent people that I'm accepting the results, it's fine," he said.

The two plan to brainstorm ideas like bringing new businesses to Onley, and finding a new building for town hall. But as mayor, Matt Hart also has his sights on preserving the history of the town.

"The town was originally named Crossroads and I'd like to really put that out there so that future generations can respect the history here," Hart said. 

Rather than mudslinging throughout this race, the two candidates say they chose the high road instead. Neighbors say they hope the attitude of small town politics may rub off on political leaders nationally. 

"I wish all of them could embrace it," said Jim Burr, who lives in Accomack County. "A little civil discourse would be really great. To be able to talk to one another and work together for the good of the citizens rather than the good of the party or the good of the candidate."

Others like Rose Pierson said the race put into perspective the importance of exercising their voting right.

"This is the perfect example of one vote making a difference, it truly, truly is," she said. 

This isn't the first time Hart has won by a single vote. He also won by a single vote in 2014 for a seat on the town council.

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