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Elaine Hyman joins Michael Page in protesting Durham primary election results

Durham County Commission challenger Elaine Hyman joined incumbent and commission chairman Michael Page today in protesting the primary election results because of irregularities in counting provisional ballots.

The State Board of Elections unanimously voted this afternoon to accept both protests; the SBOE is in charge of investigating the case.

A discrepancy discovered by the Durham County Board of Elections showed that 200 provisional ballots were counted twice in order to get the numbers to match. 

According to the SBOE, 1,059 provisional ballots were cast in Durham, 759 of them Democratic. Even if all of those 759 ballots were cast for either Page or Hyman, neither would garner enough votes for the candidates to move on to the general election in November.

Page placed sixth in a five-person race; he lagged behind James Hill, the fifth-place finisher, by 1,093 votes. 

However, Page told The Durham News that the entire election was tainted because of the provisional ballot problems.

Hyman placed seventh, trailed Hill by 1,880 votes.

There was not a Republican primary, so unless an independent candidate files for the fall election,  it is assumed that the top five vote-getters will be the new commission: Wendy Jacobs, Ellen Reckhow, Heidi Carter, Brenda Howerton, and James Hill.



Steve Bocckino

Why should the taxpayers of Durham pay for a new election to assuage the losers' hurt feelings? Are Page and Hyman hoping that they could enlist enough supporters in a nano-turnout election to change the outcome? And could the 751 developers boost Page sufficiently?

How would that be more representative of the will of the voters of Durham County?

Todd P

Given that the number of provisional ballots is not enough to change the outcome of the election, it is hard to see how the state could justify ordering a new election.

Of course, the number of provisional ballots and the resulting confusion is directly related to the new Voter ID law and other voter-suppression type changes made by the General Assembly.

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