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Avery County Had 991 Early and Absentee Votes Cast; Primary Election to be held Tuesday, May 17 for all Eligible Voters Who Did Not Vote Early or by Absentee Ballot

By Tim Gardner

What an election official termed as a “usual high volume,” 991 votes were cast during the 13-day, 2022 early voting period in Avery County. 

That was seven more than the 984 who voted early in Avery County in 2020.

All 2022 Early Voting had to be conducted solely in the Avery County Senior Citizens Center Ain Newland.  Every Early Voting opened on April 28 and closed on May 14.

County races for Clerk of Court, County Commissioner, Register of Deeds, Coroner and non-partisan Board of Education are on the ballot this year as well as several for various regional, state and federal offices.

“Early voting numbers were about what our Board of Elections members, our Director (Shelia Ollis) and myself expected,” said Avery Board of Elections Deputy Director Joseph Trivette. “It was one of our usual high volume turnouts. And we’re expecting a large turnout on Primary Election Day by those who did not vote early.” 

The polls will open at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m. at the 19 precincts in Avery County on Tuesday, May 17 for those registered to vote and wishing to do so, who did not vote early or by absentee ballot.

The Avery County Voting Precincts include: Altamont; Banner Elk; Beech Mountain; Cary’s Flat; Cranberry; Elk Park; Frank; Heaton; Hughes; Ingalls; Linville; Minneapolis; Montezuma; Newland 1; Newland 2; Pineola; Plumtree; Pyatte; and Roaring Creek.

A total of 17 candidates are seeking local public offices in Avery County, plus numerous other candidates to regional, state and national offices.

Voters will cast ballots on Tuesday, May 17 in primary elections to pick candidates who will advance to run in November’s General Election.  

Candidates for county offices include: Lee Buchanan, Mike Henley and Russell Carver for Sheriff; incumbent Teresa Benfield for Clerk of Superior  Court; incumbents Blake Vance, Dennis Aldridge and Wood Hall (Woodie) Young, Jr., along with Derek Buchanan, Glenn Johnson and Robert Burleson for County Commissioner; incumbents and sisters Pat Ellis Edwards and Jane Ellis Bumgarner, along with Linda Webb, Randy Singleton, Dennis Brown, Casey Lee and Dustin Trice for the non-partisan Board of Education.

Three seats are open for County Commissioner and two seats are open on the Board of Education. 

Since Benfield is unopposed for Clerk of Court, she will not be on the ballot until the General Election on November 8.

The Sheriff, County Commissioner, and Clerk of Superior Court elections are a Republican primary. 

A voting canvas in Avery County will be conducted by election officials on Friday, May 27.

There are various election rules that apply for a candidate’s eligibility for a runoff and will

If there is a second Primary Election or runoff, it will be held on Tuesday, July 26. It was moved from July 5 by the State Board of Elections. The voter registration deadline for the second primary is Friday, July 1. 

There is no run-off or second primary in the Board of Education race since its offices are non-partisan and those who win the Primary are elected to that office and do not have to run in the fall’s General Election unlike Sheriff, Commissioner, Clerk of Court and other county elections.

Because the Avery Board of Education race is non-partisan and its top two vote-getters in the Primary will be elected, the ballot will have a slot to vote for a write-in candidate.  

In North Carolina, a runoff or second primary, is not required if a candidate gets a “substantial” plurality, defined as 30 percent of the vote, plus one. A runoff is not required in any case unless the next-highest vote-getter eligible for a runoff or second primary files for one with the State Board of Elections. 

There are various other runoff or second primary state guidelines such as if more than one candidate receives more than 30 percent, plus one, or if no candidate receives more than 30 percent of the vote, plus one, in the primary election that will be followed by the Board of Elections in determining a runoff or second primary eligibility.

There are no non-partisan races in November’s General Election and all other offices will have slots on those ballots to vote for a write-in candidate then.

Also, Avery County voters will join those from Watauga, Mitchell, Yancey and Madison counties in electing a District Attorney for District Number 35.  Banks will also not be listed on the primary election ballot since he is unopposed.

Avery voters also will join those from Mitchell, Yancey and parts of McDowell counties in electing a State Representative (House Member) for District Number 85 and voters from Alleghany, Ashe, Watauga, Madison, Yancey, Mitchell counties and parts of Haywood and Caldwell counties in electing a State Senator for District Number 47.

For district offices, Republican incumbent Seth Banks filed for re-election as District Attorney; Republican incumbents Deanna Ballard of Blowing Rock and Ralph Hise of Spruce Pine filed for State Senate; and Republican incumbent Dudley Greene, a Newland native and current resident of Marion, and Democrat Robert Sherrill Cordle, also of Marion, filed for State House. 

But Banks is unopposed by a Republican or Democrat, so his name will not be listed on the Primary Election Ballot.  And because is unopposed in the Republican Primary, his name also will not be on the May 17 ballot.

Incumbent Virginia Foxx of Banner Elk, Michael Ackerman of Boone and Bernard Kyle Parrish of Cary filed for United States House (Congress) for North Carolina’s District Number 5, which besides Avery, includes Mitchell, Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany, Wilkes, Surry, Stokes, Davie, Yadkin and parts of both Caldwell and Forsyth counties. 

Foxx and Ackerman are Republicans. Parrish is a Democrat.

Other races for Avery Voters to cast ballots if they desire include:  United States Senate (Democrat and Republican); NC District 24 Court Judge (Seat 01); NC Supreme Court Associate Justice (Seat 05); NC Court of Appeals Judge (Seat 09); and NC Court of Appeals Judge (Seat 11).  All judicial races are Republican.

For more information about Avery County elections, call its Board of Elections office at (828) 733-8282 or log online to: