Pilot Light: Lea-Sloan Recount Set
The Moore County Board of Elections will conduct a discretionary recount of the Board of Commissioners District 4 election on Monday.
Because of a puzzling under-vote in that one race, the board agreed on Thursday to conduct the recount, although the loser, Tim Sloan, had not officially requested it. Sloan lost to incumbent Commissioner Tim Lea by 113 votes in the Tuesday Republican primary election.
The recount will be conducted Monday at the Board of Elections office in Carthage. The board will examine provisional ballots at 9 a.m. At 10 a.m., the recount will be conducted.
It will be followed by the legally required hand-to-eye sample recount of the Democratic presidential preference primary vote in three precincts, Pinehurst C, DHR and the one-stop polling place at the Agriculture Center.
Elections Director Glenda Clendenin said the loss margin in the Lea-Sloan race is not quite 1 percent, the point at which a recount, under state law, would become mandatory. However, the Board of Elections has authority to call a recount, even if the loser does not request it and even if the percentage difference does not require a recount.
In this case, there was another reason to count the ballots in the District 4 race a second time.
UNDER-VOTE -- Clendenin says there was an under-vote of about 400 ballots in the Lea-Sloan contest, by comparison with the other Board of Commissioners race on the Tuesday primary ballot.
Voters in the District 2 race between Nick Picerno and Nancy Roy Fiorillo cast about 400 more ballots than they did in the Lea-Sloan race.
"We don't understand that," Clendenin said.
Clendenin said voters usually vote in both races when two commissioner seats are on the primary ballot, and the difference between the District 4 and District 2 count is significant this time. The concern is that some voters living in District 4 did not realize they were eligible to vote in both races. All voters received the same ballot and were eligible to vote in both races, because the residential restrictions apply to candidates, not voters.
LABOR -- North Carolina Democrats will return to the polls on June 24 for a second primary to determine the outcome of the Commissioner of Labor election. It is the only statewide runoff scheduled this year.
No second primary elections are called in Moore County, although there may be runoff elections in other counties.
Statewide, the vote was so close among the four candidates for labor commissioner that no one claimed 40 percent of the total. In fact, the vote was so close that the State Board of Elections must make a narrow call to cut the second primary field down to the two top vote-getters from the Tuesday election.
Unofficial statewide results show Mary Fant Donnan with 28 percent of the total vote. The other candidates, John Brooks, Robin Anderson and Ty Richardson, each claimed 24 percent. The Democratic winner will face Republican incumbent Commissioner Cherie Berry in November.
The runoff is scheduled seven weeks later because of the time required to print ballots for the electronic vote-counting equipment. In prior years second primaries were held three weeks after the first primary.
Contact Florence Gilkeson at 947-4962 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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