Results are the same after school board primary recount

Results are the same after school board primary recount
May 31
03:00 2018

After a recount in the Board of Education District 2 primary, the votes per candidate have changed slightly, but the results remain the same.

School Board Member David Singletary asked for a recount after he came in fifth in a primary where the top four candidates proceed to the General Election.  Fourth place challenger Leah Crowley beat Singletary by less than one percent of the vote, so state statute allowed Singletary to ask for a recount.

The recount that took place 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 23, and finished up early the next morning. Forsyth County Board of Elections (BOE) staff, board members and precinct officials ran each individual ballot from the 67 precincts in District 2 though machines.

This year, all voters marked paper ballots. A small percentage of voters did so incorrectly, such as putting a check mark or partially filled circle instead of fully filling in the circles. The machines rejected numerous incorrect ballots allowing BOE members to correctly fill out duplicate ballots, that then counted.

Because of this, most of the candidates picked up a few votes. Singletary picked up 6 votes for a total of 5,265 votes, or 18.39 percent of the vote, still leaving him in fifth place. Crowley’s total remained unchanged with 5,308 votes or 18.54 percent of the vote. The other candidates gained a few votes a piece but not enough to change how they finished, with Lori Goins Clark still getting the most votes followed by Lisa Calvert Hayes and Dana Caudill Jones.

Forsyth County BOE then held an emergency meeting on Tuesday as Singletary asked for a hand-eye recount. Singletary originally asked for a hand recount in his first request, but state law says the first recount had to be done using machines. The law does allow for a hand recount of 3 percent of precincts if a candidate requests it within 24 hours after the first recount finished. Singletary was out of town and unaware of the deadline, so he didn’t communicate his desire for another recount to the BOE until after the deadline.

Singletary told the BOE he believed that elections staff should have told him about the requirements when he made his first request, but the BOE responded that the staff can’t provide information they’re not asked for since they’re impartial and can’t counsel individual candidates.

“Our staff has to walk a fine line between providing information without providing advice,” said BOE Vice Chair Stuart Russell.

After 45 minutes of deliberation, the BOE determined they had no legal way to grant a second recount and denied the request. After Tuesday’s meeting, Singletary said he’d review the statutes about what the BOE could do, but was doubtful on further appeals to the State BOE.

“The rule of law is the rule of law, and I think I’ve probably extinguished my appeals process at this point,” said Singletary.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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