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Published 3:21 pm Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Participation in this year’s municipal election surpassed the previous two municipal elections. In 2019 there were a total 699 votes cast, but in 2021 it reached 655, according to the Beaufort County Board of Elections (BOE). 

As of Tuesday, Nov. 7 at 2 p.m., there were 2098 total ballots cast (or 21.3%) by voters in Beaufort County. This includes absentee ballots that were mailed in and early voting. As of 2 p.m., there were 907 ballots cast on Tuesday, per reports from the BOE. 

From Oct. 19 to Nov. 4, the Beaufort County Board of Elections received 1,191 ballots including those that were mailed-in, according to the board. 

Most of the participation happened in the City of Washington where residents voted for mayor and five council members. There were 1,107 votes during the early voting period. None of the other political races in other municipalities came close to matching that number. Chocowinity had the second highest turnout with 36 ballots. Washington Park was third with 25 ballots and Belhaven was fourth at 17 ballots. Pantego had one, but Aurora and Bath had two. 

Director of the Board of Elections Kellie Hopkins said the disproportionate numbers can be attributed to how much competition is in a race. If a race is uncontested, then there is little participation which can be seen in Pantego with one vote in an uncontested race. Bath has an uncontested race, but Aurora has three candidates competing for two town commissioner seats.  Two candidates in Aurora are incumbents. 

In the event a race has lots of competition like Washington City Council, there will be greater voter participation. In this year’s city council race, there are 11 candidates. Also, if there is a lot of excitement surrounding a race, then greater voter participation numbers can be expected which can be seen in the City of Washington mayoral race. 

Of voters who submitted their ballots during early voting, 579 were registered Democrats, 286 were registered Republicans, but 325 were registered Unaffiliated. There were no registered Green Party or Libertarian voters, per the BOE. 

Uncertified election results will be available Tuesday night, Nov. 7 (after press deadline) and published on our website. Be sure to visit TheWashingtonDailyNews.com for updated election coverage.