Rowan County Board of Elections canvasses 2021 election, will conduct recount Tuesday

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 10, 2021

By Natalie Anderson

SALISBURY — The Rowan County Board of Elections met Tuesday to formally canvass the results of the 2021 municipal election and will meet again next week to conduct a recount for two races.

Overall, 7,326 votes were cast across the county in the 2021 municipal election, which represents 18.06% of eligible voters. By canvassing the election Tuesday, the Rowan County Board of Elections made results official. No outcomes were changed from election night.

In the most closely-watched race in the county, Mayor Karen Alexander received 2,509 votes, or 49.97%, while Mayor Pro Tem Al Heggins received 2,495 votes, 49.69%. There were a total of 17 write-in ballots cast, leaving a difference of 14 votes between the two candidates. Heggins this week formally submitted a request for a recount, which will take place Tuesday morning.

Those results include all votes cast by Election Day, absentee by mail ballots and five provisional ballots. The total of absentee by mail ballots cast across the county was 125. State law in North Carolina allows absentee by mail ballots to be returned no later than three days after Election Day as long as the ballot is postmarked by Election Day.

The total number of provisional ballots is 26, with only 12 of those resolved and counted.

Executive Director Brenda McCubbins said the time on Tuesday for the recount is still to be determined. It will be held at the election office, located at 1935 Jake Alexander Blvd. West. Recounts are conducted by a bipartisan team, she said, and applicable if the difference of votes between two candidates doesn’t exceed 1% of the total number of votes cast in that race.

Albert Smith, an alderman in East Spencer running for re-election, also submitted a request for recount after finishing just one vote behind incumbent Tony Hillian for the third and final open seat on the town board.

Election results show Alexander garnered the largest portion of her support from voters who cast a ballot at the West Innes, the North Ward and the Milford Hills City precincts. Meanwhile, Heggins’ best precincts for votes included Milford Hills County, South Ward and West Ward III precincts.

When the Rowan County Board of Elections met Monday to tabulate the remaining absentee by mail and provisional ballots, Salisbury City Council candidates gained additional votes, but it didn’t change the election’s outcome. The new council will include incumbents Tamara Sheffield and David Post, along with newcomers Harry McLaughlin Jr., who owns McLaughlin’s Grocery, and Anthony Smith, a pastor at Mission House Church. Sheffield, who finished first, picked up an additional 14 votes following Monday’s meeting. McLaughlin and Post picked up 16. Smith gained 10 votes.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

About Natalie Anderson

Natalie Anderson covers the city of Salisbury, politics and more for the Salisbury Post. She joined the staff in January 2020 after graduating from Louisiana State University, where she was editor of The Reveille newspaper. Email her at or call her at 704-797-4246.

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