Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Multi-day, hand-to-eye recount for school board primary starts Wednesday

New Hanover County election officials conduct a sample hand-to-eye recount. (Port City Daily/Alexandria Sands)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — The North Carolina State Board of Elections has officially ordered a full, hand-to-eye recount to determine the fourth Democratic nominee between candidates Nelson Beaulieu and Jennah Bosch in the eight-person school board race. It starts Wednesday and could take four to six days to complete.

At the request of Beaulieu, a sample hand-to-eye recount was conducted Friday with ballots from the Masonboro Elementary precinct and the one-stop Cape Fear Community College site. Beaulieu scored one extra vote in the recount. Under state law, if the outcome of the sample hand-to-eye recount differs from the machine tally — to the extent the amount of change could reverse the results if applied to the full jurisdiction — a recount of all ballots should take place.

To determine that extent, 100 is divided by the percentage of ballots cast; in this case, it’s 8.36%.

“Because the resulting number (11.96) is greater than the margin from the machine recount (1), the extrapolation of the results of the sample hand-to-eye recount would reverse the results,” according to a letter from the State Board of Elections.

The New Hanover County Board of Elections scheduled a special meeting for Wednesday at 9 a.m. in the Northeast Library to start the recount of the 14,701 Democratic ballots.

Four seats on the board of education are up for grabs in the 2022 election. Ten candidates, five from each party, competed for those checkboxes in the primaries.

On election night, Beaulieu was the fourth prevailing nominee, defeating opponent Bosch by three votes. After the canvass, Bosch was two votes ahead. Beaulieu demanded a recount the Monday following Memorial Day weekend. After that recount, Bosch remained in the lead by two, but the outcomes were different. Bosch wound up at 7,373 votes and Beaulieu at 7,371, as opposed to the post-canvass results of 7,375 and 7,373. Beaulieu then requested the hand-to-eye recount.

Reach journalist Alexandria Sands at or @alexsands_

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Alexandria Sands
Alexandria Sands
Alexandria Sands is a journalist covering New Hanover County and education. Before Port City Daily, she reported for the award-winning State Port Pilot in Southport. She graduated from UNC Charlotte and wrote for several Charlotte publications while there. When not writing, Williams is most likely in the gym, reading or spending time with her Golden Pyrenees. Reach her at or on Twitter @alexsands_

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