Blue Wave Didn't Reach Mainland

Sundae Horn

True blue Ocracoke bet on the losing team in statewide races & referenda.

Blue Wave Didn't Reach Mainland
Melinda Fodrie Sutton

If it were up to Ocracoke voters, D. Cole Phelps would head to the NC Senate and Tess Judge would be on her way to the NC House. In spite of enthusiastic support on the island, both Democratic candidates lost overall in their districts to their Republican opponents. (Tess won in all precincts in Hyde County, but that wasn't enough to tip the balance in District 6, which includes Dare, Currituck, and Pamlico counties.) 

In the only Federal race that Ocracoke could vote on, Walter B. Jones ran unopposed for U.S. House of Representatives. He won, with 1493 votes out of the 1981 votes cast in Hyde County. That means that nearly 500 people chose not to vote for anyone for that House seat. If you add to them the 1442 registered voters who didn't vote at all, you'll tally that ol' Walter B was re-elected by only 44% of the electorate. 

Why don't people vote? Why? Why? Why?

Hyde County had a pretty good voter turnout (57.9%) compared to the rest of the state (52%) and country, which considers 50% to be a good score in midterm elections. Sorry, no. 52% is a failing grade. 57.9% is a failing grade. Can't we at least earn a D? On a 10-point scale that's only 60%. How hard could that be? Where is that American test-score obsession when you need it? 

I digress.

In local races, Shannon Swindell and James "Little Brother" Topping won seats on the Hyde County Board of Commissioners representing Currituck and Swan Quarter townships, respectively. Ocracoke voted along the same lines as our neighbors on the mainland. 

Hyde County Sheriff Guire Cahoon, a Democrat, easily won re-election with 80% of the county vote. He did even better on Ocracoke, with 86% choosing him over his challenger. 

Angie Todd will remain on the school board and Ronnie O'Neal, Bill Caswell, and Flavia Burton will continue to serve on the Sanitary District board.

Ocracoke voters nixed all six NC constitutional amendment referenda, with the nays taking 2/3 of the votes. The rest of Hyde County, like NC overall, voted "for" on the first four amendments and "against" on the last two. Ocracokers will be disappointed to learn that the hunting/fishing amendment, the victims' rights amendment, the voter photo ID amendment, and the cap on NC income tax amendment all passed statewide and will be added to the NC Constitution. Ocracoke votes aligned with the rest of NC on the judicial and ethics amendments, which didn't pass. 

Mickey camped out all day to help voters.
Mickey camped out all day to help voters.

Today, the Ocracoke Current was on the scene to do exit polls at the Fire Hall. Full disclosure: I was there to vote and eat lunch, but exit polls sounded like fun, too, and Jenny was willing to help. 

Staunch island Democrat Mickey Baker was seated just outside the no-politicking barrier with campaign signs and sample ballots. She was sure she had persuaded a few Republicans to vote for Tess and Cole and against the amendments. 

"Blue. Blue. Blue," said Jude Wheeler in the entry poll we did with her. 

A new-ish Ocracoke resident, Showell Blades, commented that "It's a dark day for America, if [voters] don't get it right." Both side are likely to agree with that.

Echo Bennink expressed gratitude for Mickey Baker's vigil. "I was glad to see a sample ballot," she said. "I would've been unprepared." She also mentioned voting no on all six amendments, saying, "I'm suspicious of all amendments made by corporate imperialists."

Terry Lukefahr admitted that it was the Election Day posts all over Facebook this morning that brought her out. Guilt is a powerful motivator! "I'm not political; I don't feel like an educated voter," she said, explaining that she voted against Trump after thinking his candidacy was a joke at first. She's concerned about the US becoming a police state, citing that the cell phone test alert sent by the president felt intrusive, like more government, more Big Brother. 

It was a total coincidence that Jenny and I dressed in red, white, and blue!
It was a total coincidence that Jenny and I dressed in red, white, and blue!

The lunch crowd at Old Salt Sandwiches was split about 50/50 between voters and non-voters. (All agree the food was delicious!) Some non-voters offered excuses for their slacker ways; others just ignored the question. Jenny and I offered encouragement for 2020. It's never to early to lay on the guilt and GOTV. 

You can find out about the rest of the Election Day winners and losers at the NC State Board of Elections website, which is just plain fascinating. Click here for the Hyde County results, then change the drop-down search menus to break the vote down by precinct or to see other NC election results. 






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