11/18/12 — McCullen might challenge vote

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McCullen might challenge vote

By Steve Herring
Published in News on November 18, 2012 1:50 AM

Wayne County Commissioner Sandra McCullen of Dudley will announce Monday if she will ask for a recount in her close loss in last week's election to Wayne Aycock of Pikeville.

Mrs. McCullen, a Democrat, who has until 5 p.m. Monday to officially seek a recount, said she has contacted the Wayne County Board of Elections to find out more information about the procedure.

Aycock was one of five Republicans to win a seat on the board, giving the GOP a 5-2 margin and control of the board for the first time since Reconstruction.

The official vote counts were announced Friday morning during the Wayne County Board of Elections' canvass (certification) of the Nov. 6 election.

According to those totals, Aycock received 25,367 votes (50.38 percent) to 24,980 (49.62 percent) for Mrs. McCullen -- a difference of 387 votes.

"I have been out of town today so I haven't seen all of the final numbers -- I think it is like 386," Mrs. McCullen said Friday afternoon. "I don't know what the percentage is. It was less than one percent with the (unofficial) 440 (vote difference).

"I have been asked by a lot of people to consider a recount. I have not made that decision yet. I haven't talked to all of the people who are interested in the process."

Mrs. McCullen said she wanted to go back and "study" before making a decision.

"I will consider it over the weekend and make a decision on Monday," she said. "That is about all that I can say right now."

The at-large commission seat was the only local race to qualify for a recount, elections Director Rosemary Blizzard said during the Friday morning session.

The threshold to ask for a recount is a difference of one percent or less, she said.

"Is there any indication on anybody?" Board of Elections member Chris Gurley said.

"I have been asked when the deadline is and basically said that they needed to make sure all of the votes were certified and that is what you have in front of you," Mrs. Blizzard said. "Then after that, it was their decision."

The only other possible recount could be in the statewide lieutenant governor's race, she said.

Official totals in the other commissioners' races are (winner listed first):

* District 2: Commissioner J.D. Evans, Democrat, of Dudley, 5,251 votes (72.53 percent) to 1,989 (27.4 percent) for Republican Kenny Talton of Mount Olive

* District 5: Republican Bill Pate of the Saulston community, 4,447 votes (60.40 percent) to 2,916 (39.60 percent) for Commissioner Bud Gray, Democrat, of the LaGrange community

* District 6: Republican Joe Daughtery of Goldsboro, 4,642 votes (53.82 percent) to 3,983 votes (46.16 percent) for Commissioner Jack Best, Democrat, of Goldsboro.

Three commissioners were unopposed:

* District 1: Republican Ray Mayo of Pikeville, 6,862 votes

* District 3: Democrat John Bell of Goldsboro, 7,879 votes

* District 4: Republican Steve Keen of Goldsboro, 6,640.

Official totals in the three nonpartisan Wayne County Board of Education races are (winner listed first):

* At-large Eddie Radford (incumbent) of Goldsboro, 25,728 votes (63.97 percent), Len Henderson of Dudley, 12,964 votes (32.24 percent), write-ins, 1,525 (3.79 percent)

* District 2: D.B. Cannon of Dudley, 2,886 (52.62 percent), Ven Faulk of Dudley, 2,570 (46.86 percent), write-ins, 29 (0.53 percent)

* District 3: Thelma Smith of Goldsboro (incumbent), 4,734 (61.61 percent), Charles Wright Sr., 2,935 (38.20 percent), write-ins, 15 (0,20 percent).

For the most part, the election process was free of problems, Mrs. Blizzard said. In a few cases, people who cast provisional ballots incorrectly placed the ballots into the vote tabulator instead of the special bin reserved for them.

The board did vote to retrieve and to remove a one-stop registration and vote ballot that Mrs. Blizzard said had been cast by an active felon.

State law does not allow an active felon to vote, she said.

However, board member and attorney Billy Strickland said that the federal government did not care what the state said about such matters. Strickland abstained from the vote.

Strickland, who was just recently appointed as the Republican member on the board, said he had been impressed by the elections staff and how it had handled the election.