By Tim Gardner
Voters in Avery County Townships turned out in strong force Tuesday for their respective municipal elections. Thirty-two candidates were running to fill either Mayor or Town Council seats in eight city, township and village municipal government seats in the county, including: Newland, Banner Elk, Elk Park, Crossnore, Village of Sugar Mountain, Beech Mountain, Grandfather Village and Seven Devils.
Polls were open from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m.
According to voting statistics provided by the Avery County Board of Elections, voter turnout was extremely low with only a 14.09 percentage turnout (309 of 1,293).
The only contested races were for Elk Park Town Council, Newland Mayor and Village of Sugar Mountain Town Council.
In Newland, Derek Roberts unseated long-time Mayor Valerie Calloway Jaynes, getting 76 votes to 57 for Jaynes. There was one write-in vote for Newland Mayor.
Alice Whittington received the most votes for Elk Park Town Council with 48. Incumbents Joel Whitley got 41 votes. Michael Smith 39 and Tony Eller and Brad Benfield each got 34 votes. Those candidates will fill the five open-seats. Darlene Hicks received 32 votes in the race and there were 2 Write-In votes cast.
In the Village of Sugar Mountain Town Council race, four incumbents ran for two open seats. Scott Brown got the most votes with 29, while David Ammann got 28. Dick Casey got 6 votes and Wade Wittman received 3.
Avery County Voting Totals from the election were as follows:
Town of Banner Elk Town Council (Two Seats Open)-
Michael P. Dunn (I) 22
Robert Edgar Tufts (I) 17
Town of Beech Mountain Town Council (Three Seats Open)-
J. Weidner Abernathy (I) 1
Erin Gonyea (I) 1
Barry Kaufman (I) 0
Town of Crossnore Mayor (One Seat Open)
Eddie Yarber (I) 16
Town of Crossnore Alderman (Three Seats Open) –
Cami Vance Buchanan 15
Jane Milanovich (I) 13
Terry Smith 12
Town of Elk Park Mayor (One Seat Open)-
Daniel Boone (I) 45
Town of Elk Park Town Council (Five Seats Open)-
Alice Whittington 48
Joel Whitley (I) 41
Michael Smith (I) 39
Tony Eller (I) 34
Brad Benfield (I) 34
Darlene Hicks 32
Village of Grandfather Village Mayor (One Seat Open)-
Richard Norman 20
Village of Grandfather Village Council (Two Seats Open)-
Jill Norman 20
William Cagney 19
Town of Newland Mayor (One Seat Open)-
Derek Roberts 76
Valerie Calloway Jaynes (I) 57
Town of Newland Town Council- (Three Seats Open)-
Jamey C. Johnson (I) 95
Lauren Jaynes Turbyfill (I) 75
Gail Haller 59
Town of Seven Devils Town Council (Three Seats Open)-
Leigh Sasse (I) 6
Brad Lambert (I) 4
Jeffrey Williams (I) 2
Town of Seven Devils Town Council Unexpired Term Ending in 2023 (One Seat Open)
Wayne Bonomo (I) 3
Village of Sugar Mountain Council (Two Seats Open)-
Scott Brown (I) 29
David Ammann (I) 28
Dick Casey (I) 6
Wade Wittman (I) 3
Complete election results can also be found at this online link: https://er.ncsbe.gov/?election_dt=11/02/2021&county_id=6&office=ALL&contest=0
The two-week filing period for the November 2, 2021 municipal elections in North Carolina began at 12:00 noon on July 2 and closed on July 16 at 12:00 noon.
One-stop voting began in the county on Thursday, October 14 and ran through Saturday, October 30. Absentee ballots were allowed. Requests for an absentee ballot had to be made in writing and received in the Avery County Board of Elections office by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, October 26.
All residents of the towns of Newland, Banner Elk, Elk Park, Crossnore, Village of Sugar Mountain, Beech Mountain, Grandfather Village and Seven Devils, who are registered to vote with the Avery County Board of Elections, could vote in this election.
Some sections of Beech Mountain and Seven Devils are in Avery County and other parts are in Watauga County. Candidates in those townships were required by the North Carolina State Board of Elections to file in the county in which they reside and their voters must cast their ballots in the same county
Mayoral seats were on the ballot in some of those townships and Town Council (Aldermen) seats were voted on in all of them.
Voters who previously registered did not need to re-register to vote in this election. Those residents of the towns previously listed, who are not registered to vote in their municipality, must have registered on or before Monday, October 8 by 4:30 p.m. in order to be eligible to vote in this election. Alternatively voters could register and, if eligible, then vote at the one-stop site (Elections Board Office in Newland).