WEB: Lea Holds Seat on County Commission
County Commissioner Tim Lea has been declared the winner of the District 4 race.
A Monday recount of ballots in the District 4 race widened the margin by one vote for Lea over challenger Tim Sloan. The Board of Elections officially certified the results of all the races duing the vote canvas Tuesday.
Although Sloan did not officially request one, the Moore County Board of Elections decided to conduct a discretionary recount because of a puzzling overvote between the District 2 and District 4 races.
But when the recount ended Monday, Lea's total went up by one vote, and Sloan's remained the same. The margin grew to 114 votes. Both candidates gained votes with the counting of provisional ballots, also conducted Monday morning at the elections office in Carthage. The overvote remained.
In other action Monday, the elections board accepted a request for an ABC alcoholic beverage referendum in Bensalem Township if supporters can garner at least 454 names on a petition.
Elections Director Glenda Clendenin said state law requires a petition bearing the names of 25 percent of the registered voters within the precinct before an ABC referendum can be called. Supporters of the proposal have 90 days to collect names.
If they are successful, the earliest date for the referendum is December, because it cannot be held at the same time the general election in November.
In addition to the recount, the Board of Elections examined 138 provisional ballots and determined the valid ballots, which were counted separately. Once the provisionals were counted and the recount was completed, the 10 individuals hired to help with the post-election details went to work on the required hand-to-eye manual count of votes cast in the Democratic presidential preference primary in Pinehurst C and DHR precincts and as one-stop absentee votes cast at the Agriculture Center. This took the rest of the day.
They convened again Tuesday at 11 a.m. to conduct the canvass of the May 6 primary. No problems were raised at that time, and the election results became official.
The board called the recount in the Lea-Sloan race because of the discrepancy of more than 400 votes cast between that contest and the District 2 contest between Nick Picerno and Nancy Roy Fiorillo. In the Seven Lakes Precinct alone, 104 fewer votes were cast in the Lea-Sloan election than were cast in the Picerno-Fiorillo race.
The other over/under votes were scattered throughout the county, with the largest differences showing up in Eureka (70), Pinehurst A (93), Pinehurst B1 (74), Pinehurst B2 (52), Pinehurst C (74) and in the one-stop ballots cast at the airport terminal (72) as well as in Seven Lakes.
Although the difference between the votes for Sloan and Lea was relatively low, 113 on Tuesday night, the results were not close enough to require a recount. The difference must be less than 1 percent. However, the board has the discretion to call a recount if oddities in voting patterns are observed or other questions are raised.
In this case, the over/under vote between the District 2 and 4 races did raise questions, because most voters mark both ballots in such situations.
At the end of the recount, Lea had 5,074 votes, and Sloan had 4,960. In the provisional ballots Lea gained nine votes and Sloan gained eight.
Contact Florence Gilkeson at 947-4962 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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