By the numbers: A look at the City Council election

Published 5:03 pm Monday, November 13, 2017

In the 11-person race for the five seats available on the Washington City Council, four incumbents and one newcomer claimed those seats, according to unofficial vote totals from the Beaufort County Board of Election.

Virginia Finnerty, the city’s current mayor pro tempore, received 13.28 percent of the ballots marked in that contest, followed by Richard Brooks, 12.28 percent; William Pitt, 11.24 percent; Roland Wyman, 9.59 percent; Doug Mercer, 9.45 percent; Gil Alligood, 8.82 percent; Bill Clark, 8.75 percent; John Butler, 8.48 percent; Gil Davis, 6.94 percent; Robert R. Sands, 6.2 percent and Gerald Seighman, 4.71 percent. There were 15 names placed on ballots as write-in candidates.

Finnerty carried Washington Ward 1 with 113 votes and Washington Ward 4 with 116 votes. Brooks carried P.S. Jones/Washington Ward 3 with 110 votes and Washington Ward 2 with 110 votes.

Brooks tallied the most votes on Election Day with 415 votes, followed by Finnerty with 407 votes, Pitt with 371 votes, Wyman with 302 votes, Mercer with 288 votes, Alligood and Butler with 263 votes each, Davis with 232 votes, Sands with 178 votes and Seighman with 156 votes.

Finnerty was the top vote-getter during the early voting period before Election Day with 349 votes, followed by Brooks with 284 votes, Pitt with 269 votes, Mercer with 250 votes, Wyman with 244 votes, Alligood and Clark with 239 votes each, Butler with 220 votes, Sands with 175 votes, Davis with 163 votes and Seighman with 112 votes.

Candidates could pick up or lose votes when the Board of Elections conducts its canvass Friday, beginning at 11 a.m. The canvass includes reviewing provisional ballots. If there’s a question about a person being eligible to vote, that person has the right to mark a provisional ballot. A voter has the right to cast a provisional ballot if he or she believes they are eligible and registered to vote but is unable to cast a regular ballot because of reasons such as the voter’s name not appearing on the registration list at the polling place, the voter does not have a required form of voter identification (in some states) or an election official challenges the voter’s eligibility. After a voter has cast a provisional ballot, election officials determine whether or not to count the provisional ballot by verifying the voter’s eligibility. If the provisional ballot is approved, it is added to vote totals after Election Day.

Because of annexations in past years, some registered voters in the city live in the Tranter’s Creek (203 voters), Old Ford (98 voters) or Beaver Dam (37 voters) precincts, but none of them voted in the council election, according to Board of Elections data.


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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