CONNIE SWINNEY • STAFF WRITER
CEDAR PARK — A contentious and highly publicized Pedernales Electric Cooperative director election resulted in higher voter participation as well as two new faces and one incumbent holding onto her position, according to officials.
PEC officials announced the election results for Districts 1, 6 and 7 on June 20 during the membership’s annual meeting in Cedar Park.
The winners were District 1 incumbent Cristi Clement of Meadowlakes, who defeated Mark Axford of Burnet, by a vote of 11,500 to 11,228.
In District 6, Paul Graf of Spring Branch received 13,330 votes to win the seat. He unseated incumbent Larry Landaker ( 7,727 votes) of Dripping Springs. A second challenger, Max Hosford, received 1,632 votes.
In District 7, incumbent Patrick Cox chose not to run again. Of the three candidates in that race, Amy Lea S.J. Aker of Hays County received 9,943 votes with Douglas Kadjar of Kyle receiving 3,357 votes and Jeff Barton, 9,327 votes.
Directors serve three-year terms.
Officials say the online and mail-in voting prior to election day reflected an increase in interest among the 226,000 co-op members.
The voter turn out was about 10 percent compared to 8 percent last year.
During the two-week period prior to the election, online voting (8,232) increased by 44 percent compared to last year, according to PEC figures.
Mail-in voting (15,024) increased by 30 percent.
Total votes cast were about 23,400.
“There’s lots of things you could point to there. One could be the prevalence of social media has made it easier for people to receive an electronic message, click on a link and vote,” said PEC District 5 Director James Oakley, who was also appointed president of the board during the meeting. “Certainly, there’s been a lot more activities in promoting candidates in the mailbox. There’s been a lot more emails on social media fronts. All in all, I think it’s great when more people vote.”
Also at the meeting, District 2 Director Emily Pataki was appointed vice president, and District 6 Director Paul Graf was chosen as secretary-treasurer.