Primary outcomes unchanged after absentee, provisional ballots counted

Published 12:01 am Friday, May 27, 2022

SALISBURY — With all ballots calculated, the outcomes of the May 17 primary remain the same.

During a meeting on Thursday evening, the Rowan County Board of Elections counted and approved supplemental absentee and provisional ballots cast in the primary. Supplemental absentee ballots are those turned in after 5 p.m. on the day before the election. Provisional ballots are submitted when there is some question about a voter’s eligibility.

All 51 supplemental absentee ballots counted Thursday were approved. Only 18 of the 91 provisional ballots were approved. Elections Director Brenda McCubbins said having a small percentage of provisional ballots approved is not unusual, especially in a primary. A provisional ballot may not be approved for a variety of reasons.

After those votes were added to the election night totals, there were no changes in the outcome of any races. There will be no recounts and no second primaries. The primary winners will advance to the general election in November, pending a final sign off from the State Board of Elections.

The only race with any lingering uncertainty coming into Thursday night was for the third Rowan County Board of Commissioners seat on the Republican side. On election night, challenger Angie Spillman earned 6,671 votes, only 200 less than incumbent Judy Klusman. To have the ability to request a recount, Spillman needed to be within 1% of her and Klusman’s total votes, meaning she would have needed to be within 135 votes of Klusman.

After the additional ballots were incorporated Thursday, Spillman did not make up any ground. She finished with 6,691 votes compared to Klusman’s final tally of 6,892.

Klusman will move onto the general election alongside incumbent running mates Jim Greene and Greg Edds. The trio will seek to retain their seats against Democrats Alisha Byrd-Clark and Sam Post. Byrd-Clark, a member of the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education, is running with serious intentions to win. Post, meanwhile, said he’s not aiming to win but only hopes to shed light on important issues.

In the other close Republican race, challenger Chris Sease remained more than 1% ahead of incumbent Judge Kevin Eddinger for District Court Judge seat No. 1, although the difference between the two did narrow slightly from 204 votes to 195 votes after supplemental absentee and provisional ballots were counted.

In total, there were 19,667 ballots cast in the primary. The 15,828 Republican ballots cast dwarfed the 3,838 Democratic ballots cast,  not surprising given the number of Republicans in competitive primary races.

The Board of Elections will meet on Thursday to formally canvass the election, signing off on the primary results. The State Board of Elections will then complete its own canvass.

“We’re happy to be complete and that everything went well,” McCubbins said.

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About Ben Stansell

Ben Stansell covers business, county government and more for the Salisbury Post. He joined the staff in August 2020 after graduating from the University of Alabama. Email him at ben.stansell@salisburypost.com.

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