NEW HANOVER COUNTY — Next week, New Hanover County Board of Elections staff will re-scan more than 30,000 ballots to check twice for the clear winner between candidates Nelson Beaulieu and Jennah Bosch. With incumbent Beaulieu only two votes behind, he has requested a recount.
“Two votes is too close not to see this through to the finish,” Beaulieu said. “The law allows for recounts for a reason, and I just wanted to give the respect to my voters and to myself to make sure that the count was accurate. And I certainly congratulate Jennah, regardless of the outcome. I think she deserves a lot of credit. But this was just something I felt was prudent and appropriate.”
Four of seven seats on the New Hanover County Board of Education are up for grabs in 2022. In the primaries, Bosch was the fourth prevailing candidate among the Democrats, nearly securing her spot on the November ballot alongside three other Democrats and four Republican primary winners. Chris Sutton was dropped from the Republican race after receiving the lowest number of votes.
At the end of Primary Election Day, Bosch was three votes behind Beaulieu. However, during the canvass, that turnout flipped, and Bosch came out two points ahead of Beaulieu with 7,375 votes. An unsuccessful candidate can demand a recount when margins are less than 1%.
Beaulieu had until Tuesday to do so. Reached Friday following the canvass, he said he was taking the holiday weekend to think it over. He expressed his support for Bosch and desire to do “what’s best for the Democratic Party.”
On Tuesday, he said he made his decision after discussions with party leaders and his family.
“It was actually a really tough decision,” Beaulieu said. “Because I think it’s important to give deference to the people who vote. I think that’s really, really important. And it came down to, are we giving deference to those people by accepting this result? Or are we giving deference to them by making sure that this is the result that they wanted?”
On June 8, the New Hanover County Board of Elections will hold its recount in the David E. Paynter Room at the Northeast Library, starting at 9 a.m. Staff will re-scan all successfully cast votes from one-stop early voting, Primary Election Day, mail-ins and provisional ballots, Board of Elections Director Rae Hunter‑Havens said. It will send 31,263 ballots through a high-speed central scanner and vote tabulator, then compare the results to those tabulated at the canvass.
Hunter‑Havens expects the recount to take one day to complete. She said the board will share the results once finished.