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Outage forces voters at Perquimans site to record votes on paper ballots

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Perquimans County Sheriff Shelby White (left) checks his phone Tuesday afternoon while visiting the polling site at the Perquimans County Courthouse, Tuesday. White, a Democrat, is seeking election to his first term as sheriff.

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By Peter Williams
The Perquimans Weekly

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

HERTFORD — Voters at Perquimans County’s largest polling site had to record their votes on paper ballots for about an hour following a power outage.

Elections Director Holly Hunter said about 100 Bethel precinct voters had to vote by paper ballot as a result. All 100 ballots will be scanned when the county’s votes are tallied Tuesday night, she said.

Hunter did not anticipate the power outage, caused by a downed power pole, would cause a delay in determining election results.  

“That shouldn’t hold us up too much,” she said.

As of 10 a.m., 773 voters had cast election-day ballots. That’s in addition to the 3,000 who cast ballots during early voting.

In the 2014 elections, the Bethel precinct accounted for 1,350 of the 4,157 votes in the county that election. New Hope ranked second four years with 889 votes and Parkville was third with 786.

Winfall Mayor Fred Yates was spending part of Tuesday driving people to the polls. He estimates including early voting, he’s offered rides to 20 people.

When asked if that’s a large number, he replied, “I don’t know, it’s the first time I’ve done it. Most times I’m trying to get myself elected.”

Yates, who was sitting in his car outside Parkville precinct, thinks Tuesday’s turnout will be large based on what he’s seen. 

“They’ve had 138 people vote already, and that was as of 20 minutes ago. I think it’s the sheriff’s race that is bringing people out,” he said.

The sheriff’s race is the only contested local race on the Perquimans ballot.

Sheriff Shelby White, a Democrat, is seeking election to a four-year term after being appointed to the job by the Perquimans Board of Commissioners following former Sheriff Eric Tilley’s retirement in 2017.

White is being challenged by Republican Jim Bray, who retired from the N.C. Highway Patrol this year.

The two sheriff candidates raised and spent more than $40,000 on the race, according to their latest campaign reports.

Rhonda Waters, who was handing out campaign literature for White at Parkville precinct, said she’s encouraged because of the race’s civil tone.

“People are all trying to get a long. It is a democracy and each of us are entitled to an opinion, but it’s been nice,” she said.

Terry Swope was handing out information for Bray at Parkville precinct. He moved to the area from California about two years ago.

“I looked at Chesapeake, Va., but that reminded me more of L.A., so I looked further south,” he said.

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