On Thursday, Nov. 12, the Guilford County Board of Elections is going to be counting a lot of votes, and one race that will be of particular interest that day is the race between District 4 Guilford County Commissioner Alan Branson and Mary Beth Murphy, who finished 18 votes ahead of Branson at the end of counting on Election Day.

In North Carolina, the election doesn’t end on Election Day.  Ballots postmarked by Tuesday, Nov. 3, that arrive at the Board of Elections office by November 12, will be counted along with provisional ballots – ballots cast with some question whether legally they should count or not.  The Board of Elections will have to determine which provisional ballots to count and which ones to toss out based on the circumstances they’re presented with.

On Tuesday, Nov. 10, Guilford County Board of Elections Director Charlie Collicutt said there are about 250 absentee ballots that include the District 4 race that came in after Election Day. There are also some provisional ballots to be considered that will affect that race.  Collicutt said the Board of Elections is expected to count the remaining ballots starting at 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 12, and it’s hoped that the winners in races can be certified by Friday, Nov. 13.  

After the vote counting in the District 4 race is complete, however, there will be more drama.  Branson has already requested a recount. 

Branson said on Tuesday that he is still hopeful he’ll be able to retain the seat he has held since 2012.  However, he acknowledged that, since the board will be controlled by Democrats starting in December, he would have less say in any actions the board takes. 

Branson said, in very colorful language, that he expects Democratic Guilford County Commissioner Skip Alston to be the next chairman of the board and said that the county’s taxpayers are in a great deal of trouble if that happens.  Branson said that’s especially true if there isn’t sufficient resistance on the board to counterbalance the coming destructive actions of Alston.