DOBSON, N.C. (WGHP) – A required new election for the board of commissioners in the Town of Dobson only slightly changed the results from those discarded after Nov. 8.

Walter White and J. Wayne Atkins took the two seats on the board during the do-over vote on Tuesday, with White winning by 23 votes (143-120).

But the candidate who finished third, John Jonczak (with 73 votes), was the reason the North Carolina Board of Elections in December had ordered that there be an entirely new election.

During the election in November, a poll worker had told multiple voters that Jonczak had died. He was alive, and he lost by only eight votes to White. Atkins had finished first in November.

A voter had reported that he was “confused” by what the poll worker had said because he had talked to Jonczak in the parking lot. The Surry County Board of Elections decided that the poll worker’s actions could have influenced voters’ choices, and the state BOE unanimously threw out the results.

White and Atkins were both incumbents, and even though the race was nonpartisan, Anderson Clayton, the new chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party, took to social media to celebrate their victories as symbolic and later issued a statement.

“Congratulations to Commissioners White and Atkins on their re-election, and thank you to Chairwoman [Adreann] Belle and the Surry County Democratic Party for all their hard work getting out the vote for the first municipal election of 2023,” Clayton wrote. “This win is emblematic of what Democrats can do in rural North Carolina when we come together behind qualified candidates and organize our own backyards.

“We will continue to push the margins and build up Democratic infrastructure from the ground up in every corner of this state.”