Raleigh, N.C. — Michael Schlink was elected to the Morrisville Town Council Wednesday, beating incumbent Linda Lyons by three votes, after the Wake County Board of Elections voted to count seven absentee ballots.
Lyons said she would not appeal the decision, and Cheri Poucher, Wake's Board of Elections director, was expected to certify the election.
Protests were filed over 11 absentee ballots that the elections board had disqualified. Three of the ballots were illegally witnessed by Lyons, who could face misdemeanor charges, and the others were received after the deadline.
Lyons witnessed five absentee ballots, and also tried to vote on Election Day after casting an absentee ballot herself. She told supporters that she didn't know the law regarding witnessing ballots, and she also reportedly told poll workers that she forgot she had already voted.
Wake County elections officials declined all of the protests, which were appealed to the State Board of Elections.
The state board last month denied the protests on the three ballots witnessed by Lyons. Attorneys for the voters had argued that the ballots should be counted because the voters weren't aware of state law prohibiting candidates from acting as witnesses on absentee ballots.
The state board sent the other eight absentee ballots back to Wake County elections officials for more study.
Although the ballots were submitted after the 5 p.m. deadline on the day before the election, the board ruled, they came in within a three-day window after the election in which absentee ballots from military members are counted.
Four of the eight ballots were postmarked before the election, while the other four don't have a postmark.
Wake County elections officials said last month they planned to contact the four voters whose absentee ballots weren't postmarked to see if they remember when they mailed their ballots, according to Poucher.