Recount shows no change in hotly-contested H2GO board race - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Recount shows no change in hotly-contested H2GO board race

(Source: Raycom Media) (Source: Raycom Media)
BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) -

The hotly-contested race for three open seats on the Brunswick Regional Water and Sewer H2GO Board of Commissioners underwent a discretionary recount Wednesday.

The vote totals remained exactly the same once the recount was finished. 

Six candidates ran in the election: three in favor of the utility’s proposed $30 million reverse osmosis plant and three against it. Unofficial results have two candidates for the plant and one against it as the top three vote-getters. Just 18 votes separate the lone anti-plant candidate in the top three from the fourth-place finisher, who ran in favor of the plant.

Support for the plant dramatically increased following news reports in June of GenX contamination in the drinking water.

Since the results remained the same, those against the plant will hold a majority on the board, leaving the future of the project in question. Bill Beer said while it's too early to have conversations about killing the project entirely, he will deliver on his campaign platform.

“If it were deemed necessary to use that technology, to solve the problems that we now face, we would support that,” he said.

Incumbent Carl Antos, who trails Beer by 18 votes, said Wednesday's results were what he expected, but he still doesn't understand why the project may be killed.

“Why anyone would be against this, I don’t understand," Antos said. "They say it’s going to be too expensive, but they don’t realize in this fiscal year we’re going to spend $1.8 million purchasing water from the county.” 

Sara Knotts, Brunswick County Board of Elections director, said the recount didn't have to do with one specific race and could have happened even if the race wasn't controversial. 

"The recount process is statutory," Knotts said. "It is permitted if any contest is within a one percent margin, so any of our 19 towns could have somebody that requested a recount had their contest been close enough."

Knotts added the recount process helps ensure voters their voices are heard correctly. 

"Anyone is welcome to come to our office when we start the meeting at 9 a.m., and they can watch us actually retabulate those results," Knotts said. "They can go back to the computer where we read in the results from election night and see how we actually make things happen. Typically (on) election night, people are not here watching how we do that, so it just adds to the transparency of the process."

Also on Brunswick County’s list to recount was a close race for the final spot on Sunset Beach’s Town Council, where newcomer Jan Harris has just one vote on current councilman E. Wilson Sherrill. The recount showed no change.

Additionally, election officials recounted the race for Southport mayor and Boiling Spring Lakes commissioner. Again, no totals changed in the recount.

Fourteen votes separate Southport’s current mayor Jerry Dove and challenger Joe Pat Hatem, and only two votes separate the second and third most vote-getters in the Boiling Spring Lakes race.

The votes will be officially canvassed by the state Friday.

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