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Winston-Salem chronicle. (Winston-Salem, N.C.) 1974-current, March 31, 2016, Page A5, Image 5

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South Ward candidate Carolyn HighsmUh tries to figure out if she won the tight South Ward race during the Board of Elections Canvas meeting on Thursday. ' Photos by Tbdd Luck South Ward candidates Carolyn Highsmith and John Larson shake after the BOE's official results showed Highsmith winning by six votes. Vivian H. Burke 64.56% (2,707 votes) Keith King 35.44% (1,486 votes) Narrow South Ward win leads to recount; June primary rules set Candidates say tight race shows flaws in the system BY TODD LUCK TwrminwriF "Does that mean I won?" asked Carolyn Highsmith after the Board of Elections approved the official results of the pri mary election. Indeed, after hours of waiting for provisional bal lots to be tabulated during the BOE meeting on Thursday, March 24, it did turn out that Highsmith pulled off an extremely narrow victory over her opponent, John Larson, in the Democratic primary for the South Ward City Council seat. The final numbers were Highsmith, with 2,029 votes to Larson's 2,023 votes. Larson shook Highsmith's hand congratulating her, but the victory is still potentially tentative. Since the six-vote victory is less than one percent, Larson applied for a recount on Monday, which the BOE is expected to be complete this week. "We will make sure that all due diligence is spent to ensure that the proper votes are counted," said Larson. Highsmith said she considers herself the win ner and was thankful for all her supporters in the South Ward. "We had a lot of people in the South Ward who wanted to see me win because they know what I represent, they know I'm going to represent the South Ward to the very best of my ability," she said. But Highsmith also said she supported the recount. Both candidates patiently sat through the canvas process on Tuesday and Thursday of last week, watching the board approve and disapprove votes. After the canvas, both agreed that they had questions and concerns about the process they wit nessed. Highsmith said that there were residents who cast ballots that weren't counted and it was unknown who would've gotten those votes had they been accepted. "It's a very flawed sys tem right now and we've QMffAIGfT got to clean it up," she said. OnTbesday, 101 absen tee ballots that came in the day after election day were discounted because they didn't have a postmark, which statute requires. On Thursday, of the 961 provi sional ballots that were considered, 592 were rejected. Voter ID was a small portion of provisionals, with all nine reasonable impediment provisionals accepted. Only 39 provi sionals were rejected because voters cast their ballot without an ID and failed to produce an ID to the BOE afterwards. Other provisional rejec tions included 151 out-of precinct votes that had no signature, 157 ballots by people who weren't regis tered to vote and 194 bal lots by people who weren't registered to vote but also didn't provide a signature. Statute requires a signature on provisional ballots and poll workers were trained to get voter signatures even when the signature line didn't print out, whichv BOE Director Tim Tsujii said happened numerous times. Tsujii said his office will be examining the soft ware that produced the bal lots. Tsujii will also be offering his full review of election performance and recommendations for improvements in the next BOE meeting in April. During the comment period on Thursday, Larson's supporters lamented the lack of park ing at one precinct in the South Ward and that sever al voters didn't have the South Ward race on their ballot. Tsujii said the BOE found there were 18 people who were given the wrong party ballot in the South Ward. Larson compared the canvas process to watching sausage being made. "I think there are real questions about people being disenfranchised and if it hadn't been for the closeness of this election, it would have just been buried under the carpet," said Larson. The victor of the South Ward primary will face Republican Michael "fyler in November. Also during the meet ing, the board approved Early Voting plans for the June 7 primary, which will feature races for the U.S. House of Representatives and one seat on the N.C. Supreme Court. Early vot ing will be at the BOE offices in the Forsyth County Government Building on Thursday, May 26, Friday, May 27 and Tuesday, May 31 through Friday, June 3 from S a.m. 5 p.m and Saturday, June 4, from 10 Many have filed to run in the sec ond primary, with the new District 13, which stretches from Guilford into Davie and Iredell Counties, hav ing the most challengers with 22 candidates. Alma Adams is running for reelection in the 12th District, which is now entirely in Mecklenburg County. Her Democratic primary challengers are . Gardenia Henley of Winston-Salem, Rick Miller of Summerfield, for mer state senator Malcolm Graham and state lawmak ers Rodney Moore, TriCia Cotham and Carla Cunningham. Republicans vying for the seat are Leon Threatt, Paul Wright and Ryan Duffie. Locally, for the Fifth District, Virginia Foxx will face Pattie Curran and B. Mark Walker in the Republican primary. Democrats Jim Roberts, Charlie Wallin, and Josh Brannon, who Foxx defeat ed in 2014, are also run ning for the seat. N.C. Justice Robert Edmunds is facing Daniel Robertson, Michael Morgan and Sabra Faires in the judicial pri mary. Redisricting creates interesting congressional primaries BY JONATHAN DREW AND GARY D. ROBERTSON ASSOCIATED PRESS RALEIGH ? Changes wrought by this year's redistricting will make for unusually crowded fields in several North Carolina congressional districts dur ing rescheduled primary elections - including one where two incumbents will face off. North Carolina law makers were forced last month to hastily redraw the map of congressional dis tricts after a federal court ruled that two were unlaw fully race-based. Legislators also delayed primaries for U.S. House candidates until June 7, separating them from other contests held earlier this month. Below is a look at the races, along with the fac tors influencing them: New rules The primary field took shape with last Friday's fil ing deadline, which attract ed 76 candidates covering all 13 districts. A one-time change in the law allows candidates to nin in the congressional primary while also seeking y ; another elected position this year. They would nor mally be barred from run ning for two elected posi tions. A congressional pri mary winner already on the November ballot for anoth er position now will have to choose to run in one or the other. / There will also be no primary runoffs this year, meaning a candidate in a crowded race could win with far less than half the votes. "It is a great year to watch current members of the General Assembly test the waters for a higher seat with really little risk," said David McLennan, a visit ing professor of political science at Meredith College. Another layer of uncer tainty is added by ongoing litigation that could change the districts again before the election. Jostling Democrats When lawmakers cor ralled the 12th District within Mecklenburg County, it made the left leaning territory attractive to a number of Democrats. U.S. Rep. Alma Adams of Greensboro has said she's planning to move to Charlotte to stay in the 12th, which previously snaked along Interstate 85 from Greensboro to Charlotte. Also vying for the Democratic nomination are three members of the state f House with ties to the area: Tricia Cotham, Carla Cunningham and Rodney Moore. The other Democrats are Malcolm Graham - a former state senator from Charlotte who ran in 2014; Gardenia Henley and Rick Miller. Bitzer said incumbents generally have an advan tage, but Adams is facing opponents with strong Mecklenburg County ties. The Mecklenburg vote could splinter, allowing someone to win with 20 to 30 percent of the vote, Bitzer said. Attracting a crowd The new Republican leaning 13th District shares the name of Holding's cur rent district, but its bound aries shifted to a complete ly different geographic area to the west. That's attracted a whop ping 17 Republican candi dates, including four state legislators: Sen. Andrew C. Brock and Reps. Julia Howard, Harry Warren and John Blust. "It's going to be a com petitive battle simply because somebody could win with maybe 30 percent of the vote, and there's no runoff primary," Michael Bitzer, a professor of poli tics and history at Catawba College, said even before seven OOP additional can didates filed Friday. There also are five Democrats running. i People who filed for 5th District congressional seat: Pattle Curran, Republican, Kemersville Incumbent Virginia Foxx, Republican, Banner Elk Charlie Wallln, Democrat, Boone Jim Roberts, Democrat, Pilot Mountain Joah Brannon, Democrat, Vilas ELljsb^ ErteS Ellison Attorney At law Is Your License Revoked or ?van Permanently Revoked? I May Be Able to Get You a Driving Privilege. Is the Ball Bondsman Too Expensive? Maybe You Need to try a Property Bond. Call Me! 11J North Marshall street Wiiisluu Salem NC -7101 iJhsi North oj hi Slrrrtt Phone < Uh) 71* 7.170 l ax: (?.t6) 7M 7.172 ellisonlawaeanhUnk.nei , \ "Dedicated To Providing You The Beet Service. ~ mmammmmmmsmM??? 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