ONDBEAT Some voters cast election suspense and write-in relief

Just when I started to think this year’s Brunswick County election process was cut-and-dried, along came recounts, absentee votes, provisional ballots and, my favorite for comic relief, miscellaneous write-in votes.

The first three are adding to the suspense of this year’s local elections, especially in Sunset Beach where, at last count Tuesday, two candidates competing for a third available town council seat were just one vote apart.

Newcomer/environmentalist Jan Harris had 661 votes to former councilman/real estate agent Wilson Sherrill’s 660, spurring Sherrill to request a recount.

At 9 a.m. Wednesday, after the Beacon has already gone to press for this week’s edition, the Brunswick County Board of Elections convenes at its Bolivia office to conduct discretionary recounts in the Sunset Beach council race and three other close elections for Southport mayor, a Boiling Spring Lakes commissioner seat and Brunswick Regional H2Go commissioner.

Last Wednesday, Nov. 8, the day after the election, an unopened Sunset Beach absentee ballot also came over the transom at county election headquarters and has been recommended for review by the elections board when members meet this Friday to consider 98 countywide provisional ballots, including five in Sunset Beach, and to canvass election outcomes.

Then there are the nearly 600 countywide write-in votes, which only register on the official elections list if five or more are for a particular person, Brunswick County Board of Elections director Sara Knotts said.

Outgoing Sunset Beach Mayor Pro Tem Carol Scott, for example, who isn’t seeking re-election this year, received nine write-ins — noteworthy but nowhere near enough to retain her seat. Something tells me she won’t be challenging that.

Some write-in votes were serious and numerous enough to get people elected or nearly elected. Calabash, for example, has two new commissioners, Michael Price and Frank Drury, who were elected through voluntary and involuntary write-in campaigns, respectively.

Judging by the list of other countywide miscellaneous write-ins, Disney characters could’ve been strong contenders if only they had campaigned a little harder.

The uncontested race for Belville mayor, for example, brought on one vote each for Donald Duck and “Anybody but that son of a bitch.”

Ditto the Boiling Spring Lakes mayoral election, which reaped three votes for the Disney duck and one vote each for Mickey Mouse, Jack Diddley, Anybody Else and “Taxation is theft.” The Boiling Spring Lakes commissioners’ race had six write-ins, one of them for Alli Gator.

Calabash’s write-in tally brought one vote for Prince, along with a number of votes for assorted former and current board members who aren’t seeking re-election.

In Oak Island, 10 write-ins were cast for mayor, including one vote each for John Doe, No Confidence, None and “None of the above.”

Ocean Isle Beach’s mayoral race drew write-ins for Anybody but Debbie, Anyone Else, Donald “Duk” and The Rock.

For Shallotte alderman, there were 10 write-ins including one for Not Gene Vasile, while Southport races reaped nine write-ins, including one more for the Disney duck.
The uncontested Sunset Beach mayor’s race had more than 30 write-ins, including another vote for the Donald (Duck), plus two for Mickey Mouse and one vote each for “Minny” Mouse, Snoopy and Dog Catcher.

The Sunset Beach council race had 38 write-ins that included one for Daffy Duck, two for Mickey Mouse and one for Willie Nelson.

The Dosher Hospital Board of Trustees race registered write-in votes for Jesus, John the Baptist and Deez Nuts.

And that, dear voters, sums up the lighter side of this year’s Brunswick County elections — in a nutshell, of course.

Laura Lewis is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or llewis@brunswickbeacon.com.