By Peter Vankevich
As the dust has cleared and with only one state-wide recount underway, North Carolina had a record voting turnout with 5.54 million votes cast, which is 75% of registered voters.
By comparison, in 2016, 4.77 million voted representing 69% of registered voters. For president, Donald J. Trump edged out Joe Biden, 2,758,776 to 2,684,303. Republican Thom Tillis will return to Washington having beaten Democrat Cal Cunningham for the Senate race.
Democrat incumbents Gov. Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein were reelected. Below those offices, Republicans won most of the state-wide elections and retained control of the General Assembly’s House and Senate.
“This is the highest voting turn out for Hyde County that I can remember,” said Viola Williams, Hyde County’s election director. She said this year’s election went smoothly.
Hyde County voter turnout exceeded the state percentage with 79% of its registered voters–2,506, casting votes. Ocracoke has 827 registered voters and 654 cast ballots, representing 78% of the voters for the precinct.
County-wide, Trump easily beat Biden 1,418 to 1,046. Ocracoke remained the county’s only blue precinct. The combined votes for the two early voting days and on election day Nov. 3 had Biden outpacing Trump, 348 to 176.
The breakdown of Ocracoke absentee ballots, votes cast at the Board of Elections office in Swan Quarter and provisional ballots were not available, but these all were included in the total noted above.
On the Ocracoke ballot, a write-in was possible for one of the two positions on the Ocracoke Sanitary District Supervisors. Regina O’Neal Boor, a current board member, will return as she received 195 write-in votes. Roger Meacham received 37 and Janille Turner, seven. Scott Bradley will return to the board having received 423 votes.
As for county commissioners, incumbents Earl Pugh Jr (R-Lake Landing), Ben Simmons (R-Fairfield) and Goldie Topping (D-Swan Quarter) will return as county commissioners. Unopposed Randal Mathews (D) will represent Ocracoke replacing Tom Pahl who did not seek reelection. They will join Shannon Swindell (D-Currituck Township), who was not up for reelection.
Eight provisional ballots were rejected.
“One of these registered to vote after the voter registration deadline, six were not registered at all and one was ineligible to register due to a felony conviction,” Williams said.
The race for North Carolina Supreme Court chief justice is the only statewide race within close enough margins to ask for a recount. In statewide races, there must be 10,000 votes or less between the two opponents.
Incumbent Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, a Democrat, asked for a recount to keep her position after trailing behind Republican Justice Paul Newby by only 406 votes.