Recount Possible In School Board Race
Voting was so close for two seats on the Moore County Board of Education Tuesday that one candidate might be eligible to call for a recount on one or maybe two races.
Whether James F. Koch asks for a recount or not, the Board of Elections faces the manual counting of paper ballots in four precincts plus the 2,845 absentee ballots cast the one-stop way for one statewide race.
County Elections Director Glenda Clendenin said the hand counting of four precincts and the one-stop ballots are mandated under an interpretation of the 2005 legislation that changed several aspects of North Carolina election laws.
In addition to the one-stop ballots, the hand count will be carried out on ballots cast in the Pinehurst A, Cameron, Eastwood and Taylortown precincts for the office of Supreme Court chief justice.
Clendenin plans to hire about 16 individuals to make the hand count, known in election jargon as the manual "hand to eye sampling." The Board of Elections will oversee the hand count.
The hand count, along with counting 132 provisional ballots, will begin at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Board of Elections office in Carthage.
Sue McKenzie Black received 59 votes more than Koch in the general election for the third at-large seat, a factor that gives Koch the right to call for a recount.
Koch is only 132 votes behind Pamela D. Thompson the second-place finisher, and this is exactly the same number of provisional ballots that won't be counted until Tuesday. There remains the possibility that Koch will be eligible to seek a recount in both races.
Black, Thompson and Koch were among six candidates for three seats on the Board of Education. Top vote-getters in unofficial returns were incumbent board member J. Dale Frye, Black and Thompson. Frye's election is not subject to a recount. Frye led the way with 11,384, according to the unofficial returns.
As of late Thursday, Koch had not indicated whether he would seek a recount.
Clendenin said the "hand-to-eye sampling" decision about races and precincts comes from the State Board of Elections. The new law requires this hand count as a quality assurance measure to check accuracy of the new election equipment.
A similar process was required after the May primary election, when the new equipment was first put to use, but at that time only two precincts were counted.
Pinehurst A registrants cast 1,253 votes in the chief justice race Tuesday. The other precincts are smaller.
The Tuesday count is scheduled to complete the statutory requirements in time for the official canvass to be conducted by the Board of Elections at 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 17. At that time the board will determine the validity of the vote and will declare election returns to be official.
The 2005 law requires all counties to use election equipment providing back-up paper ballots as a means of checking the vote in the event of an equipment breakdown. The system requires voters to mark paper ballots which are then entered into electronic tabulators to tally results.
Florence Gilkeson can be reached at 947-4962 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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