Local News

Your Vote Can Make A Difference

Posted November 3, 1999

— There are all types of reasons why people don't vote. One of the most popular excuses is "My vote won't count."

That wasn't true this year where one vote here and there could have changed the outcome in several races.

In Raleigh, the mayor's race is so close that Stephanie Fanjul will most likely request a recount. There's a good chance other races will be recounted, too.

Wake County's Board of Electionscounted several hundred ballots either mismarked or cast by people who changed their address.

The pressure is on because some of these votes could determine the outcome of some close races.

In Fuquay-Varina, votes from 10 people would have made a difference in the mayor's race. Five residents were the margin of victory in council races in Apex and Rolesville. Just one vote separated the candidates for commissioner in Morrisville.

Knightdale had a council race that ended in a tie.

Knightdale council candidate Steve Meadows is kicking himself for not making that one extra phone call or campaign stop.

"It is frustrating, but that's the way the process works," Meadows said. "I think a lot of people don't realize or don't understand that their vote really does matter and in my case, it certainly did matter. One more vote, one more person could have made a big difference."

The board of elections says it hasn't seen this many close races in a long time.

Cherie Poucher, Wake County Board of Elections Director, says the more people you have running, and the smaller the voting population, the chances are so much higher that it will be close.

The final results of all these close races should be in Friday at 11 a.m.

The Wake County Board of Elections reported that there were unofficially 399 change-of-address ballots that were counted on Thursday in addition to an unspecified number of mismarked ballots. If there are any recounts ordered in the big races, that could cost almost $7,000 per race.

To see how tight this year's races were, you only need to look back to 1997 especially in Wake County.

Back in 1997, 22 seats were up for grabs. One race won had a 10-vote differential.

This year, 26 seats were on the ballot. When the counting was done, five races were within ten votes.

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