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Successful write-in campaigns in Eastern Carolina

Write-in candidates won seats in Bethel and Grimesland, according to unofficial results.
Published: Nov. 4, 2021 at 10:19 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - In North Carolina, voters can write in the name of a candidate who does not appear on the ballot.

In Pitt County, for towns such as Bethel and Grimesland, where the board of commissioners was a vote for 5, that allowed 5 write-in slots people can fill in.

“And that’s to allow for the opportunity that if someone wants to write someone else’s name in rather than the candidate there, they can do so,” director Dave Davis said, adding you don’t necessarily need to spell it correctly.

Sarah Warren was a write-in candidate that placed fifth in the town of Grimesland, according to unofficial municipal election results. She received 30 votes for a seat on the board of aldermen.

“It makes me feel really good, I’m glad that the town does have that kind of trust in me,” Warren said. “I appreciate everyone’s vote that I got. It really means a lot.”

As someone who’s very active with the parks and recreation committee and the volunteer fire department, Warren said she’s excited to serve with a vision.

“Mainly the community involvement,” Warren said. “Being able to help any of the community that I can. Being able to help in any aspect of the town that I can.”

In Bethel, write-in candidate Barbara Bynum had the second largest number of votes for a seat on the board of commissioners. Bynum received 181 votes after incumbent Carl Wilson.

The Pitt County Board of Elections will need to check provisional and absentee ballots before the results are official but Davis said they’re pretty much finished, looking at the 27 provisionals and waiting to see if any absentees come in.

The absentee ballot has to be postmarked on or before Election Day and be in by Friday at 5 p.m. for it to count.

“The write-in will be declared as far as a write-in on the list of results if we can find that they are registered and they are eligible to hold that office being that they live in the municipality,” Davis said.

But your vote matters, especially in Winterville where there’s a one-vote difference for mayor.

“Municipal elections, because it’s such a low turnout, is where you see the most interesting things,” Davis said. “I’ve seen several, I’ve been here for 18 years. My very first election, in Farmville, was decided by one vote. And so just like this year, we’ve seen that in other contests. For municipals, just because of the low turnout, that’s what leads to these close contests and these things that people aren’t used to.”

In Pitt County overall, Davis said voter turnout was “okay,” considering nearly 80,000 registered voters for the city of Greenville did not participate due to the 2020 Census delay.

“Simpson was really low turnout,” Davis said. “Candlewick, zero turnouts, really low, but then you had others like Winterville, Farmville, Ayden that did okay, about the norm. I think Greenville not having an election to where it wasn’t so much being talked about here and there, kind of led to a little bit of a low turnout.”

Pitt County Board of Elections will have a meeting on Tuesday at 11 a.m. when they’ll complete the canvass and finalize the results.

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