Bertie races hinge on write-in ballots

Published 4:12 pm Friday, November 10, 2023

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Election Day in Bertie County municipalities is over, but the final outcome in several races is far from finished.

Write-in votes in Aulander, Colerain, Kelford, and Powellsville need to be counted by the Bertie County Board of Elections during the 10-day Canvass period, which runs from Nov. 8-17.

“We will tally all of the write-in names and votes each received. We will also process Provisional ballots received,” stated LaToya R. Peele, Bertie County Director of Elections. “All official results will be released and finalized on Nov. 17. That is time when the official write in names and votes received will be listed.”

According to the State Board of Elections, there were 10 provisional ballots cast on Nov. 7 in Bertie County.

A voter may cast a provisional ballot when their name does not appear on the voter registration rolls for the voting location or other questions arise about their eligibility to vote or to vote a particular ballot. Those voters fill out a provisional application form, which includes information that the county board of elections can use to research the voter’s eligibility.

An in-person voter will also cast a provisional ballot if they are unable to show an acceptable form of photo identification when voting. The voter will cast a provisional ballot and do one of the following: complete a Photo ID Exception Form, or return to their county board of elections office with their photo ID by the day before county canvass, which in this case is Thursday, Nov. 16.

In Aulander, there were 88 write-in votes in the race to fill three unexpired terms on the Town Commission. Richard Jernigan, with 86 votes, has earned one of those three seats. The other two will be decided when the write-in votes are tallied.

The same scenario unfolds in Colerain where nobody filed for three seats (two full term; one unexpired term) on the Town Commission. The names of those Commissioners will be determined when the write-in votes are counted (33 for the full term seats, and 15 for the unexpired term seat).

In Kelford, the fifth and final seat on the Town Commission will be determined when the 24 write-in votes cast in that town are tallied.

Over in Powellsville, no one filed for Mayor. A winner will be named from among the 29 write-in votes for Mayor.

As for the remainder of the races across Bertie County, the outcome is known with the exception of one seat on the Aulander Town Commission.

In that particular race to elect two individuals to full term positions on the Town Commission, Tommy P. Hale’s 67 votes guarantees him one of those seats. However, the second seat is currently in a stalemate as David Clinton Conner and Phillip L. Thomas each received 53 votes. If the deadlock cannot be broken during the Canvass period, the Bertie Board of Elections will choose a method to break the tie.

John Byrum received 11 votes in that four-man race to fill two seats.

Also, Aulander voters chose Bryan A. Morings to continue as the town’s Mayor. Morings ran unopposed and received 86 votes.

Askewville Mayor Gloria Bryant also returned to office, receiving 23 votes from her constituents. Voters there saw four names on the ballot for the three seats on the Town Commission. Those seats were earned by Michael Baker (24 votes), Nicholas Pritt (22), and Carla Sue Pesce (21). Kay W. Brantley finished fourth with seven votes.

Kelford voters chose Ahmad Vaughan over Randy D. Robtoy for Mayor. Vaughan tallied 29 votes compared to 16 for Robtoy.

Four of the five seats on the Kelford Town Commission were decided on Election Day. Timmy Eaton topped that list with 34 votes followed by Kenneth (KC) Cain and Michael A. Johnson Sr., each with 33 votes, and Raymond S. Eaton with 27 votes.

There was one contested race for the At-Large seat on the Lewiston-Woodville Town Council. There, the unofficial tally shows Gary Parker defeating Jim T. Wiggins, 39-16.

The other three candidates seeking seats on that Council each ran unopposed. Shela Gilbert received 49 votes for the full-term seat to represent the Lewiston District; Patrick Walton Sr. was named on 49 ballots to fill the same District’s unexpired term; and L. Michelle Gilliam tallied 50 votes to represent the Woodville District.

Five candidates filed to fill three seats on the Powellsville Commission. The unofficial winners are Camille Taylor (32 votes), Hattie Askew (31), and Antonio E. Hoggard (27). Carlyle Hoggard (22 votes) and James Gerald Waters (21) rounded out the field.

In Roxobel, Gary Johnson defeated Alton H. Parker, 49-24, in the race for Mayor.

Sharon L. Jones (55 votes), Dillon Pruden (48), Robert L. Phelps (43), and Joseph E. Pittman III (37) won the four seats on the Roxobel Town Commission.

Three individuals filed to fill an equal number of seats on the Windsor Town Commission. Camille Holmes Rascoe (162 votes), Randy Walston (129), and Cathy Wilson, all incumbents, were reelected.

All results are unofficial until the Canvass is completed.

The Bertie County Board of Elections will conduct a Sample Audit Count at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 14 at its office in Windsor. This sample audit is required by state statute and helps ensure the reliability of election results tabulated by the machine.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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