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Outstanding absentee ballots could impact razor-thin New Bern mayoral race

Outstanding absentee ballots could impact razor-thin New Bern mayoral race
Published: May. 18, 2022 at 2:56 PM EDT
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NEW BERN, N.C. (WITN) - Election officials say there are 77 absentee ballots out there for the New Bern mayoral race that have not yet been counted.

Meloni Wray, Craven County Elections director, says those votes could swing the extremely tight race between Toussaint Summers, former New Bern police chief, and Jeffrey Odham, current New Bern alderman, who currently have only one vote separating them in the mayoral race after Tuesday’s primary election.

Summers has 2,622 votes to Odham’s 2,621.

For the absentee ballots to count, they must be postmarked by 5 p.m. on Election Day and be received by 5 p.m. on Friday. On May 27th, the count will be finalized.

Because four people ran for the position, the winner needs more than 50% of the vote to claim the victory outright. Instead, both Summers and Odham currently only have 46%.

This means that unless the absentee ballots swing the race in one contestant’s direction, a runoff is likely.

Asked by WITN if he would request a runoff, Summers said he’s not worried because he still has the lead right now.

“I really had no reaction to the closeness, but I was... honored and humbled at the fact that citizens of this great city have that much faith in me,” Summers said.

Odham did not give a comment.

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