1,442 cast ballots early

A voter moves from registration to the voting booth Tuesday inside the Morehead City No. 3 polling site at the Church of the Nazarene. (Dylan Ray photo)

BEAUFORT — About 1,000 more people voted in this year’s municipal elections than in 2017 races, elections officials said Tuesday, but voter turnout was still under 20% of all registered voters in Carteret County.

Tuesday was municipal Election Day for 11 towns throughout Carteret County: Atlantic Beach, Beaufort, Bogue, Cape Carteret, Cedar Point, Emerald Isle, Indian Beach, Morehead City, Newport, Pine Knoll Shores and Peletier.

Preliminary election results released Tuesday night show 4,600 total ballots were cast, representing 19.64% of the county’s registered voters.

Of those, 1,442 voters took advantage of one-stop early voting and 11 sent in absentee by mail ballots.

County Board of Elections Director Caitlin Sabadish, who has only been in her position on staff for about two weeks, said her first election seemed to go well, with few problems reported by the county’s 17 precincts.

She said the help of experienced BOE staff, especially Deputy Director Margot Burke, was much appreciated, and she feels more prepared for elections to come, like the upcoming 2020 presidential election.

While candidates in some municipalities ran uncontested, races in some towns may come down to provisional ballots or any yet-to-be-counted absentee ballots. In the race for Cape Carteret mayor, Will Baker leads Charlie Evans, currently a town commissioner, by only one vote, and in Morehead City, incumbent councilwoman Diane Warrender has ony seven votes more than her closest opponent.

Many eyes were on Cape Carteret races this year, as the town has been embroiled in controversy in recent years regarding a series of votes in early 2018.

One of those votes, to change the town’s form of government, was challenged by some town residents and appeared on the ballot Tuesday in the form of a referendum question.

The majority of Cape Carteret voters chose “no” on the question, keeping the council-manager style of government in place.

Full election coverage is included in Wednesday’s edition.

Election results are preliminary and will not be certified until Canvass Day, Friday, Nov. 15. The BOE will hold a meeting to discuss provisional ballots Tuesday.

Contact Elise Clouser at elise@thenewstimes.com; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow on Twitter @eliseccnt.

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