Recount hands Board of Commissioners majority to Democrats

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Lurphy DePalma

Larry Halstead is a tech nerd with an affinity for arts & sports. Reppin' the hard streets of South Asheville for almost 15 years. He's made this city home and has vowed to never stop fighting to keep it as weird & unique as possible.

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Photo of Ellen Frost from EllenFrostforBuncombe.com

In the first tally before last night’s recount, one troubled by the Republican-led redistricting that threw dozens of votes from Warren Wilson College students into question, Republican Mike Fryar had the most votes in the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners District 2 race, with fellow Republican Christina Kelley G. Merrill second.

While the totals of the recounted vote are subject to further challenge, Fryar still holds the lead, but with Democrat Ellen Frost now second.

Frost edged Merrill out by only 13 votes, and only 123 votes separate all four candidates: Fryar (R), Frost (D), Merrill (R) and incumbent Carol Peterson (D).

From Mountain Xpress:

The unofficial election results released on the evening of Nov. 6 had Merrill with a 87 vote edge over Frost. But that tally didn’t include a number of absentee and provisional ballots that the Board of Elections determined should legally be counted when it met to determine the final results on Nov. 16.

However, Merrill has already indicated she plans to request a recount, which would be automatically granted because her margin of loss is less than one percent of the total. That’s likely to take a couple of weeks, according to officials from the county’s Election Services Department.

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The Buncombe County Board of Elections announced the following certified District 2 election results at about 2 a.m. on the morning of Nov. 17:

Mike Fryar 19,993 votes
Ellen Frost 19,904 votes
Christina Kelley G. Merrill 19,891 votes
Carol Peterson 19,870 votes

The previous unofficial results released by the Board of Elections on election night, Nov. 6 were:

Mike Fryar 19,904 votes
Christina Kelley G. Merrill 19,806 votes
Ellen Frost 19,719 votes
Carol Peterson 19,701 votes

Read the full Xpress article here.

The Warren Wilson confusion arose over students living on campus who registered to vote using the college’s address rather than the address of the dorm where they live. The campus was divided in last-year’s Republican-led redistricting, with one part of the campus in District 1 and the other in District 2.

Students are required to vote in the district where their dorm is located, but this was unclear to student voters at the time of the election. Some voted using the college’s official street address as their address, causing confusion for students living in dorms located in the other district.

From the Citizen-Times:

Swannanoa resident Eric Gorny challenged the ability of a number of Warren Wilson residents to vote.

Peaslee said he filed a protest on behalf of Merrill and Fryar “saying (to the board) you really should take a look at those challenges before you do the canvass.”

“In our opinion, when the Board of Elections moved some voters from District 1 to District 2, in part what they did was they went to the (Warren Wilson) college and they said, ‘Tell us where these students live,’ and we don’t think that is an acceptable source. We think there needs to be greater scrutiny to confirm where these students, in fact, live,” Peaslee said.

Read the full Citizen-Times article here.

With these new results, still subject to challenge, Buncombe Dems now hold the majority on the Board.

More as it develops.

 

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Lurphy DePalma

Larry Halstead is a tech nerd with an affinity for arts & sports. Reppin' the hard streets of South Asheville for almost 15 years. He's made this city home and has vowed to never stop fighting to keep it as weird & unique as possible.

  • 1

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1 Comment

  1. barry November 17, 2012

    Ha ha ha. They tried to pull Warren Wilson, and all 1000 eligible voters, into District 1 (otherwise known as the ‘liberal ghetto’), so they reached out a prong & gerrymandered “the most liberal college in America” into Asheville. But they failed to realize that a lot of them actually live across the street from their mailing address.

    So when it became clear what had happened, a whole bunch more of them went to the polls, and that’s all it took to keep the County Commission Democratic.

    Ha ha ha! Is this a great town or what? ha ha ha ha…

    Reply

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