We could be headed for a run-off in at least one highly contested local election. Tracy Reams, Director of the Orange County Board of Elections, breaks down the possible scenarios if the election results are narrow following the May 6 primary.
Under the current state statute, a run-off, or a second primary, is not required if a candidate gets a “substantial” plurality–which Reams says is defined as 40 percent plus one vote.
“To eliminate the possibility of a run-off, a candidate would need to get 40 percent plus one. If a candidate does not reach that then the second place candidate would then have the right to ask for a run-off in writing,” Reams says.
The Democratic primary race for Orange County Sheriff is looking to be one of the closest contests with six candidates vying for the position.
If just a local election requires a run-off, Reams says it will be held on June 24, seven weeks after the first primary per state law.
If the congressional senate contest requires a run-off, all second primaries will be held on July 15, ten weeks after the first primary.
“There is not a possibility of having a June primary and then a July primary. It would all be held in one second primary.”
The North Carolina Republican primary in the race for the United States Senate appeared to be headed for a run-off, but a recent poll revealed that state House Speaker Thom Tillis has managed to widen his lead.
Reams says that if a second primary is required, there is one important rule unaffiliated voters should keep in mind.
“If an unaffiliated voter votes in the first primary, they would be required to vote the same party in the second primary.”
The last run-off election held in Orange County was on July 17, 2012, for several state offices: the Democratic race for Commissioner of Labor and the Republican race for Lieutenant Governor, Commissioner of Insurance, Secretary of State, and Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Click here to view the full candidate list for the May 6 primary.