WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – The 2021 municipal elections have come to a close and the results have been finalized following the countywide canvass of the election results. While the final number of votes has changed slightly due to the counting of absentee ballots and provisional ballots, the results of the election remain the same.
In Wilmington, Mayor Saffo maintained his lead over Harper Peterson giving him yet another term in office.
One of the closer City Council races between Clifford Barnette and Paul Lawler also remained largely unchanged. Barnette kept a 262-vote lead over Lawler giving him the seat for a second term, and putting Lawler outside of the recount threshold.
The vote canvass is a chance for the board of elections to ensure that every vote was counted, including mail-in and provisional ballots. New Hanover County Elections Director Rae Hunter-Havens said the board continued to add new votes to the counts as late as Monday, but now, the results are confirmed. Elections commonly see changes in totals following the initial results on election night.
Still, Hunter-Havens says it’s not common for a canvass to change the outcome.
“Typically I don’t recall any instances where individuals who were leading all of a sudden their positions changed between election day and canvass and we did not see that happen,” she said.
According to Hunter-Havens, a candidate can request a recount only if the difference between their outcome and the lowest winning candidate’s are less than 1 percent apart.
In New Hanover County, only one person qualifies.
“Right now, there is a candidate in Carolina Beach, she was the lowest candidate who did not get elected. She is eligible for a recount I believe at this point she is right on that threshold… Anyone who is eligible for a recount has until 5 p.m. tomorrow to request that in writing of this office,” she said,
That candidate is Deb LeCompte, who lost the election by just 18 votes last week to Mike Hoffer. LeCompte told WECT she would not be seeking a recount, but she is ready to consider an appointment to the board in order to fill mayor-elect Lynn Barbee’s Town Council seat.
In Brunswick, Pender, and Bladen Counties, no candidates are eligible to request a recount, and in Columbus County, there are just two races that could request it. That request would have to be made in writing to the Board of Elections by Wednesday at 5 p.m.
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