The N.C. State Board of Elections on Tuesday (April 7) unanimously ordered a new Republican primary election for Columbus County Commissioner District 2.
The new election will be held on June 23, the same day as the 11th Congressional District second primary in the western part of North Carolina.
Audits by the county board of elections of the March 3 primary election results showed 10 voters received a ballot style with the District 2 contest on it on Election Day, but they were not eligible to vote in that district. Contest results show a margin of 4 votes between Mack Ward, the top vote-getter, and Chris Smith, the runner-up.
The same candidates will be on the ballot for the new election: Ward, Smith, and third place candidate, W. Bernard White.
The State Board voted 5-0 to order the new election under N.C.G.S. § 163-182.13(a)(1). That statute allows the State Board to call for a new election if “ineligible voters sufficient in number to change the outcome of the election were allowed to vote in the election, and it is not possible from examination of the official ballots to determine how those ineligible voters voted and to correct the totals.”
Because the 10 voters cast their ballots on Election Day, the ballots were not retrievable, and the results could not be updated accordingly.
Only Republican voters in that county commissioner district, as well as unaffiliated voters in that district who did not vote in another party’s primary for the March 3 election, will be eligible to vote in the new election on June 23.
The State Board also appointed three Democrats to serve on county boards of elections as follows:
- Sophia Wilkerson to the Cabarrus County Board of Elections
- Judy Lotas to the Dare County Board of Elections
- Susie Squire to the Northampton County Board of Elections