Recount results in no changes to vote totals

Published 6:34 pm Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Gary Brinn retains his seat on the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners.

A recount Wednesday in the commissioners race did not change the vote totals between Brinn, an incumbent Republican, and Republican Derik Davis, a Republican who requested the recount.

“I’m pleased with results of the recount, just like I was pleased with the results on Election Day,” Brinn said after the recount.

Brinn will join incumbent commissioners Jerry Langley and Hood Richardson and newcomer Jerry Evans when they take their oaths of office Monday during the commissioners meeting. Usually, commissioners are sworn in on the first Monday f December, but the delayed recount forced the delay in the swearing-in ceremony.

Davis, who thanked the Beaufort County Elections Board, its staff and recount workers for their hard work, commented on the recount process: “I am glad it is now behind us, and we will move forward. I wish the Beaufort County commissioners, who will be serving us these next years, I wish them well. I pray for their success. We, as a county, need them to succeed. So, now is the time for moving forward.”

Two weeks ago after the county board conducted its canvass, Brinn and each gained one vote from seven provisional ballots approved by the board. Updated official vote totals show Brinn as the fourth-highest vote-getter in the commissioners contest, just 60 votes ahead of Derik Davis, who finished fifth among seven candidates. Brinn collected 3,290 votes to Davis’ 3,230 votes. The difference between their votes is less than 1 percent.

In the board’s recount, incumbent State Auditor Beth Wood, a Democrat, picked up two additional votes, while her Republican challenger, Chuck Stuber, gained no votes.

Kellie Harris Hopkins, Beaufort County’s elections director, attributed the two-vote gain by Wood to two ballots that jammed during the recount being inadvertently counted twice or light marks on a ballot not being read by and Election Day voting machine but read by another voting machine during the recount. Some voting machines are more sensitive to reading light marks than others, sometimes resulting in a minimal difference in vote totals, she said.

“Recount as usual,” Hopkins said after the recount, which took about seven hours. “I was hoping for a perfect election. I’ve never had one.” In her 18 years as elections director, vote totals have changed in each election due to several factors, including improperly marked ballots that voting machines don’t fully read or reject altogether because a machine cannot determine what the voter’s intent was in marking the ballot.


About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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