ELIZABETHTOWN — After all the votes were verified and numbers scrutinized, the results from the March 15 primary stand. That was the decision of the The Bladen County Board of Elections, which met Tuesday to canvas the votes, a process that takes place after every election.
“The board is in an audit from election night until the canvas in case anything needs to be, for any reason, taken away or added,” said Cynthia Shaw, Board of Elections director. “For example, we had one person that actually didn’t put the ballot in the scanner, so we had to add that vote — little things like that.”
As of March 15, all one-stop votes, absentee ballots, and polling station votes had been counted, but part of the canvas process includes factoring in the provisional ballots. 74 provisionals were cast in Bladen County, and all were eligible to be counted.
“We had the most provisionals we’ve ever had,” said Shaw. “It stemmed from people thinking they were one party and they were another, and they didn’t want to vote that particular ballot. They didn’t have any option but to vote provisionally.
“We had some other issues like address changes or people who said they registered with the DMV but we never received their registration,” she added. “There are a lot of issues that cause the generation of provisional ballots.”
One of the races that, it was thought, might be affected by provisional votes was the District 3 County Commissioner race, which saw, as of March 15, a scant 19 votes separate Ken Register Jr. and incumbent Wayne Edge. Edge, on the lower side of the numbers, filed for a recount and waited to see what would happen with provisional ballots.
“There were no provisionals cast in District 3,” said Shaw, “so neither got any extra votes.”
North Carolina law stipulates the conditions under which a recount may be conducted, stating that the differential of the two votes must be 1 percent or lower of the total number of votes cast in the race. Nineteen votes, or 1.21 percent of the total, separated the two candidates, nullifying the recount request and validating Register’s victory.
Shaw said the board has already begun preparing for the June congressional election.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.