No changes after Cleveland, Landis recount

SALISBURY — The election recount came and went and nothing changed in Cleveland and Landis’ aldermen races Tuesday.

After requested recounts, challenger Dorland Abernathy kept his victory over incumbent D. Craig Sloop in Landis — his lead widened from two to three votes after the count — and election officials confirmed Pat Phifer’s 73-72 edge over Travis Summitt.


Election staff began the recount at 10 a.m. Officials carefully inserted ballot after ballot into an election box, which printed the totals. After about 40 minutes, County Board of Elections Director Nancy Evans called the recount for Abernathy. He was the only candidate in attendance.

“Most of my questions were procedural,” Abernathy said, noting that he read up on the general statutes’ recount instructions. “It’s a new foray for me into politics.”

When asked about his interest in the town board, Abernathy said he didn’t like the current board’s friction.

“The rudeness of board members to each other,” Abernathy said, “from the first meeting that I attended in Landis — and then just wondering, these tax dollars, where are they going? Why are they needed?”

This was the second consecutive election that a Landis race came down to a recount. In 2011, elections officials had several recounts in a tied mayoral race between Dennis Brown and James Furr before Furr was named the victor.

“They’re typically close,” Evans said. “Because of the low voter turnout, you’re going to have closer races.”

Abernathy said he waited 64 years to get involved in his hometown’s politics, but hopes his “belated start” means more transparency and better community engagement.

“Hopefully more openness, so that the citizenry will know what’s going on. I know they’re invited to the meetings but there’s not a whole lot of interaction between the board and the citizens,” Abernathy said. “I’d like to see more of that. If that means going and visiting a civics class at the school that’s within walking distance of the town board or just to meet with the teachers thats down there and to say, ‘Hey, this is what’s going on. What are you interested in?’ “

With the recount behind him, Abernathy said he looks forward to serving.

“I wish Mr. Sloop all the best, I know he’s disappointed in the outcome because he wanted to serve still but I’m looking forward to the opportunity to serve as well,” he said.

Contact reporter Nathan Hardin at 704-797-4246.

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