you're reading...

Cornelius News

With 13 votes separating mayoral contenders, it ain’t over til it’s over

Nov.9. By Dave Yochum. It turns out the election results from Tuesday night are unofficial, which matters little unless a contest is close—on the order of 1 percent difference between winner and loser.

That’s apparently the case with the mayoral contest in Cornelius, with Woody Washam ahead of Denis Bilodeau by only 13 votes out of 5,521 votes cast.

Washam | Photo by Jason Benavides

Bilodeau has not asked for a recount—it’s still early, plus he says he’s ready to move on. Of course supporters who have skin in the game may suggest otherwise.

Canvass is when it gets serious

Next up in the North Carolina election process is what’s called a canvass—the official process of determining that the votes have been counted and tabulated correctly, resulting in the authentication of the official election results.

For close elections, the canvass period is important. During this time, elections officials count absentee ballots that came in before the deadline and research provisional ballots to determine whether they should be counted.


But provisional ballots are rarely a factor in Cornelius elections; there were only six two years ago.

In every county, the canvass meeting when the results are certified is 10 days after Election Day, which means Nov. 17 is the critical time after which a recount may be requested.

Still to count are the absentee ballots, but so far at least, mail-in ballots have split about 50-50 between Washam and Bilodeau, suggesting both their tallies might climb about equally as the rest come in.


What about Mayor Pro Tem? 

What’s also interesting is there is only one vote difference between Scott Higgins (2,843 votes) and Susan Johnson (2,842 votes). In Cornelius, the top vote-getter among Town Board candidates traditionally becomes Mayor Pro Tem.

A similar scenario played out six years ago in the Town Board race when Thurman Ross had the fifth-highest number of votes and Jim Duke came in sixth—it’s a five-member board—with a six-vote difference.


The recount was completed with no change in the numbers, according to the Board of Elections.

Says Bilodeau: “I want to let the process play out and let’s see where we are next Friday when the final results are released “