LUMBERTON — There have been no protests filed, no recount requests and no complaints made to the county Board of Elections following Tuesday’s primary election.
It was the smoothest election in memory, according to G.L. Pridgen, supervisor of the Board of Elections.
“And we are happy about that,” he said with a chuckle.
He and his staff had all left the elections office building on North Walnut Street in Lumberton by 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, Pridgen said.
“Normally I’m here until after midnight,” he said.
The next step will be the canvass to certify Tuesday’s results. That effort is scheduled to begin May 18.
None of the elections were particularly close, so no recounts are in the mix.
Locally, the effort is directed toward winding down from the election and meeting state-mandated post-election guidelines.
“Right now, we’re looking pretty,” Pridgen said. “We’re in the process of getting all the equipment back in here.”
In the coming days the state will randomly select a number of county voting machines, and the ballots from those machines will be hand counted to double-check the accuracy of the machines’ tallies.
“It’s something we do every election,” Pridgen said. “It’s mandated by the state.”
Pridgen said he has heard no complaints about voters being given the wrong ballots. But he can understand where there might be instances of confusion.
Some precincts might have different ballots for the same election, be it Board of Commissioners, county school board or another political race, he said.
“It’s where you live, not where you vote,” Pridgen said.
In all, 22,194 of Robeson County’s 75,026 registered voters cast ballots in the primary election, making the turnout a shade under 30 percent. Of that total, 10,236 were cast during early voting. In 2014, the last year the county had a sheriff’s race, 16,467 of 74,578 registered voters went to the polls in Robeson County, according to the N.C. Board of Elections, a turnout of 22 percent.
The increased interest was driven by some high-profile races, five candidates, all Democrats, trying to replacing Ken Sealey, who is retiring after being sheriff since 2005, as well as three candidates seeking to replace Johnson Britt, the county’s district attorney since 1994. In addition, there were eight candidates for three competitive seats on the Board of Commissioners, and 14 for four seats on the Board of Educaton for the Public Schools of Robeson County.
There were also two competitive Republican primaries, for District 6 on the county commission and also for House District 47.
“Having not one but multiple contested Republican primary races in Robeson was a local elections milestone this week,” said Phillip Stephens, chairman of the Robeson County Republican Party. “Republicans generally have a presence in the General Election but not as much in the primaries. That has clearly changed. Who would have thought that not only would you have multiple Republican candidates in Robeson, but contested Republican races as well.”
All results are unofficial until certified during the canvass.
Reach T.C. Hunter by calling 910-816-1974 or via email at [email protected]