Board working to finalize vote

Board working to finalize vote
March 24
00:00 2016
Photo by Todd Luck
Forsyth County Board Elections Members Fleming El-Amin, Ken Raymond and Stuart Russell check over ballots on Tuesday.



South Ward vote is too close to call; June primary looms 

With just one vote now separating Democratic candidates for the South Ward City Council seat and two contests to be voted on in June, the primaries aren’t over just yet.

Though most primary contests were voted on last Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives and N.C. Supreme Court will have its own primaries on June  7.

And locally, a canvas process is happening at the  County Board of Elections (BOE) to determine the final official outcomes of the March 15 Primary.

At a canvas meeting held Tuesday, March 22,  the BOE approved the addition of nearly 500 absentee ballots to the vote totals. Carolyn Highsmith’s lead over John Larson has now shrunk to just one vote in the South Ward Democratic primary.  The elections board voted to extend the process until today (Thursday, March 24).

“We’ve just been overwhelmed with a significant number of provisional ballots,” said Forsyth County Board of Elections Director Tim Tsujii. “We had 890 provisional ballots issued on Election Day – 56 issued during early voting – which makes the total 946.”

Officially, results will be determined during today’s meeting. If there’s is still no more than 1 percent difference between the candidates, then either of them can file for a recount.

Though the new voter ID requirement did result in some provisional ballots, most of the ones with problems presented to the board involved voters who’ve moved and were transferred to the correct precinct. Tsujii said voters who transfer should’ve been given regular ballots but signed provisional ballots count, too. However, the 20 provisional ballots presented to the board on Tuesday lacked signatures, a matter the BOE continued until today.

There was a voter who lacked the proper ID and cast a provisional ballot cast with a reasonable impediment form that was unsigned, which violates statute, due to poll worker error. The BOE rejected the ballot 2-1, with Democrat Fleming El-Amin dissent-ing. There were also 101 absentee ballots that arrived by mail at the BOE the day after Election Day without a postmark that were rejected, also in accordance to statute in a 2-1 decision with El-Amin dissenting. There were also four instances of voters voting twice, which the board ruled to allow one vote to count for each voter and referred the matter to the state board to see if legal action should be taken.

U.S. House June 7 primary

The upcoming June 7 primary came about because of court rulings. One ruling said that the 1st and 12th congressional districts were racially gerrymandered by adding black voters into a district with a large black population in order to dilute their voting power statewide and ordered the districts to be redrawn. The newly redrawn congressional districts mean that there’s a new filing period for candidates, which ends Friday at noon, and a new primary. The redrawn 12th District no longer includes the Triad, and now all of Forsyth County is in the Fifth District.

Tsujii said that all voters will be receiving new voter registration cards, regardless of if their district changed.

“My plan is to send cards to everybody, not just the ones that were affected, otherwise there’s going to be a lot of confusion,” he said.

s of press time, Democrat Jim Roberts and Republican Pattie Curran had filled for the Fifth District. Incumbent Republican Rep. Virginia Foxx has been campaigning for re-election and is expected to file.

Rep. Alma Adams is r running for re-election in the 12th district, which is now entirely in Mecklenburg County. So far Democrats Rodney Moore and Tricia Cotham, who are both state lawmakers, have filled to challenge her in the primary. Democrats Gardenia Henley and Juan Antonio Marin Jr., who were running before the districts were redrawn, have indicated they will continue running in the 12th but had not filed again as of press time. So far Leon Threatt is the only Republican to file for the seat.

N.C. Supreme Court June 7 primary

A court also struck down a new up or down vote for N.C. Supreme Court seats that was supposed to go into effect this year, so once again there’s an open election for the seat currently occupied by Justice Robert Edmunds. As of press time, Mike R. Morgan and Sabra Jean Faires have filled to challenge Edmunds in the non-partisan primary. Filing for that seat also ends Friday.

Voter registration is currently open for the June 7 primary and will run until 25 days prior to the election. Any voters needing to register or change their registration can do so during that time. There will be an early voting period for the June primary. The amount of early voting hours will be entirely at the discretion of local BOEs.

There were no judicial races on the local ballot in the March primary, because there weren’t enough challengers in other judicial races to warrant a primary. All four incumbent judges on the N.C. Court of Appeals will face one challenger in the General Election. In the N.C. 21st Judicial District Court, all incumbent judges are running unchallenged except William Graham Jr., who is retiring. Attorneys Carrie Vickery and Aaron Berlin are both vying for Graham’s seat. Though judicial races are non-partisan, the party of each candidate will now be labeled on the ballot.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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