Recount called in Northampton

Published 5:12 pm Friday, May 20, 2022

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Three seats on Northampton County’s Board of Commissioners were up for grabs on this year’s ballot. According to the unofficial results of Tuesday’s primary election, however, one incumbent commissioner will be facing a recount to see if the numbers shift in her favor.

That extremely close commissioner race was for the District 3 seat. Tuesday’s unofficial results show challenger Ed Martin (1,877 votes) edging out incumbent Nicole Boone (1,872 votes) by a slim margin of five votes.

While Boone had the edge in early voting (receiving 323 more votes than her opponent), Martin received more on primary election day. He garnered 328 more votes than Boone from voters who chose to cast their ballot on Tuesday. Voters in the northeastern precincts and the Lake Gaston precinct favored Martin as the Democrat candidate over Boone, while Rich Square, Gaston, Garysburg/Pleasant Hill, and Seaboard precincts favored Boone.

Northampton Board of Elections Director Spinosa Clements told the News Herald on Wednesday that a recount has already been requested for this race. Because they are still waiting for any provisional ballots and absentee ballots to be returned, the recount will take place after the county canvass is completed on May 27. Clements added that it would be June before they have the recount results.

According to an email on Thursday from the North Carolina State Board of Elections, there are four provisional ballots in Northampton County. Three of those were on election day while the other is from the early voting period.

Provisional ballots are cast when an individual’s name does not appear on the poll book or other questions arise about that person’s eligibility to vote or to vote a particular ballot. The provisional voter fills out a form called a provisional application, which includes information that the county board can use to research the voter’s eligibility.

Whichever District 3 candidate prevails in the recount will be unchallenged in the general election.

In the race for the District 4 commissioner seat, Democrat incumbent Joyce V. Buffaloe was defeated by Melvetta Broadnax Taylor. The margin of victory was only 218, with Taylor receiving 1,895 votes to Buffaloe’s 1,677.

Taylor’s largest wins were in the Conway/Milwaukee/Pendleton precinct (111 more votes than Buffaloe) and the Lake Gaston precinct (69 more votes).

Taylor currently has no challengers on the ballot for the general election.

Dr. Kelvin Edwards, a Democrat who currently represents District 5 on the Board of Commissioners, received 2,062 votes to continue his run for another term. His largest win margins came from the Garysburg/Pleasant Hill precinct, Seaboard precinct, and during early voting.

His challenger, Richie Harding, carried seven of the county’s 13 precincts, mainly in the northeastern area. But Harding’s 1,528-vote total wasn’t enough to earn the Democrat nomination for the general election.

Edwards will face Republican candidate Caroline Long in November.

Jack Smith, the incumbent Democrat candidate for sheriff, easily secured his nomination for another term in office by receiving just over 75 percent of the votes cast.

Smith received 2,975 votes and carried all 13 precincts in the county. His largest margins of victory came in the Conway/Milwaukee/Pendleton precinct (259 more votes), Jackson/Rehoboth precinct (108 more votes), and Rich Square precinct (106 more votes). He also received 862 more votes during the early voting period than his challenger, Tony Burnette.

Burnette received a total of 950 votes in the primary election.

No Republican candidates filed for sheriff, so Smith will run unopposed on the ballot in November.

Tuesday’s election also determined who secured seats on Northampton County’s Board of Education. Three seats in the nonpartisan race were up for grabs, and the top vote-getters were all incumbents.

Rhonda Taylor, currently serving as chair of the school board, received the most votes (2,642). She was followed by Lucy M. Edwards (2,618 votes) and Dr. Marjorie Edwards (2,230 votes).

Other candidates in the race included Catherine B. Moody (1,362 votes), Julius O. Webb (1,097), Vivian Plum King-Jackson (989), and Shakila Evette Spruill (282). There were also 35 miscellaneous write-in votes.

Additionally, there was a separate Board of Education race to fill the rest of the unexpired term of Josephine Dunn, who passed away in Feb. 2021. After Dunn’s death, the board attempted to appoint a candidate to fill her seat until the primary election, but they remained deadlocked for almost a year on the decision. Finally, in March this year, Clinton Williams received enough of the board’s votes to be appointed to serve until June 2022.

The candidate with the most votes during Tuesday’s election will be the one to serve the remaining two years of the term, from July 2022 to June 2024.

Williams managed to secure that seat with a total of 2,573 votes compared to the other candidate in the race, Franklin Williams, who received 1,404 votes.

  1. Williams received a majority of the votes in each of the county’s precincts as well as 518 more votes than F. Williams during the early voting period. There were also 17 miscellaneous write-in votes.

Elected BOE candidates will be sworn in to start their new terms in July.

Voter turnout in the county for this year’s primary election was just over 34 percent.

All results are unofficial until canvassed by the Northampton County Board of Elections.

The general election will be held on November 8.