GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – You can rest assured that so no problems with voting have been reported from last week’s Primary Election in North Carolina.
With false claims of widespread voter fraud during the 2020 presidential election still very much in the public discourse, you might have had immediate concerns that those problems would re-emerge in the 2022 election cycle.
But elections officials have reported nary a significant problem when voters went to the polls on May 17. About 1,423,102 votes were counted – a turnout of about 19.67% of registered voters — to choose nominees for the U.S. Senate, Congress, the General Assembly and a long list of state and local offices.
Chris Cooper, an elections expert and professor at Western Carolina University, wrote on his Twitter feed last week that the turnout was the second highest in a non-presidential primary since 1990 and the highest since 2002.
Some of Tuesday’s races were very close, one by a single vote Some have triggered recounts. Some will require runoffs on July 26 – although none of them in the Piedmont Triad – and at least one seated member of Congress was voted out (Republican Madison Cawthorn in the 11th Congressional District).
Yet there so far have been no significant complaints, election officials said.
“Thanks to the hard work of county boards of elections staff and community-level poll workers, the primary went very smoothly, with very few incidents at the polls,” NC Board of Elections spokesperson Patrick Gannon wrote in response to an email from WGHP. “There were a handful of incidents on Election Day, all of which were handled properly by poll workers. None of these incidents hindered voting, due to backup measure in place at the polls.”
He said the State Board did not have to extend voting at any polling places because of disruptions. “We received a handful of complaints typical with any election, such as aggressive campaigners outside the polling place,” he said. “These issues were managed by poll workers and county elections staff.”
He said he was checking with the NCBOE’s Investigations Division to see if there had been any alleged irregularities.
Each county is going through audits that are required by state law. More than one county said those processes are underway.
“Every county always has to do a hand to eye audit of two precincts after any election,” Sherry S. Dawson, director of the Alleghany Board of Elections, wrote in response to an email survey. “Which means a bipartisan team hand counts every ballot in two different precincts before canvass.”
Turnout better than the state rate
Nearly 24% of Alleghany County’s registered voters participated in the primary, although the slate in the county was much smaller than in some others. But across the 14 counties in the Piedmont Triad, the average participation was nearly three percentage points better than the state as a whole, averaging 22.56%.
Davie County, home of Rep. Ted Budd (R-Advance), the runaway winner in the Republican primary for the about-to-be vacant U.S. Senate seat – Cheri Beasley won easily in the Democratic primary, too – saw a 28.2% turnout, but that was only third-best in the Triad.
More than one-third of voters – some 33.93% – cast ballots in Yadkin County, where in addition to primaries for the Senate and incumbent Virginia Foxx’s race in the 5th Congressional District and state court races, there was a busy local slate, some in winner-take-all races.
Lee Zachary won a 4-way GOP race for an open seat in NC Senate District 36, and a district country judge, three county commissioners, three school board reps and a sheriff were selected. None so far faces opposition in November.
But Wilkes County saw a 28.3% turnout with a similar ballot, and Stokes County had 24.82%.
Forsyth County had by far the lowest turnout in the Triad (16.45%) despite crowded slates in races for the Board of Commissioners and the Board of Education, and Budd represents a large portion of the county. There also were a couple of competitive primaries for state house districts.
Alamance County likewise was low (16.62%) even though the county is now part of the 4th Congressional District, where an open seat – Rep. David Price (D-Durham) is retiring – drew a large slate of Democrats in a high-profile race that had a lot of outside attention and dollars. Many believe this primary would choose the ultimate winner in the fall, and State Sen. Val Foushee won with 46.15% over Nida Allam (36.92%), with entertainer Clay Aiken a distant third (7.37%). Nurse Courtney Geels of Hillsborough took 64.59% in the Republican primary.
County vote breakdowns
Here are the vote totals and percentages across the Triad:
Alamance County 18,473 16.62%
Alleghany County 1,829 23.96%
Caswell County 3,091 20.20%
Davidson County 21,154 18.75%
Davie County 31,551 28.20%
Forsyth County 53,495 16.45%
Guilford County 75,867 20.35%
Montgomery County 4,120 24.12%
Randolph County 20,455 21.70%
Rockingham County 10,990 18.09%
Stokes County 7,888 24.82%
Surry County 9,509 20.29%
Wilkes County 12,403 28.32%
Yadkin County 8,378 33.93%
The city of Greensboro will have its final municipal elections on July 26. That’s when voters will choose their next mayor and eight members of City Council (three at-large and five district seats) from among a slate of 16, nine of whom are incumbents or have served on the council. Each will serve an abbreviated term because these elections were delayed from 2021 by a belated census count.
Voters also will have a $135 million bond referendum to review, which would create money for housing, transportation, parks and recreation, firefighting facilities and law enforcement facilities. The bond would allow the city to raise property taxes over a period of time to pay off the balance as needed.
Voters can continue to register for this election up until July 1, and early, in-person voting will extend from July 7 until 3 p.m. on July 23. Absentee ballots must be requested by July 19 and submitted by July 26.
General Election schedule
In advance of the General Election on Nov. 8., here is the calendar of deadlines as posted by the NCBOE:
- Aug. 10: Deadline for write-in candidates to submit petitions to qualify for the ballot.
- Sept. 9: Absentee ballots available.
- Oct. 14: Voter registration deadline, although same-day registration is available for early voting.
- Oct. 20-Nov. 5: One-stop early voting is open until 3 p.m. on Nov. 5. A schedule of locations and dates by county will be forthcoming.
- Nov. 1: Deadline to request an absentee ballot
- Nov. 8: General Election and deadline for returning absentee ballots.