By Richard Sullins |

108 voters turned out on November 2 in Broadway to choose three town commissioners for the next four years in a contest where the outcome was never really in doubt.

Thomas “Tommy” Beal and James W. Paschal received 74 and 73 votes, respectively, and April Smith Collins received the most votes with 90. Beal is the town’s current Mayor Pro Tempore and Paschal is also a current commissioner.

Collins will replace Janet Harrington on the board. Harrington died on September 24 and had previously announced that she would not be a candidate for re-election.

Although he had dropped out of the race during the summer, retired community college professional Donny Hunter received 22 votes.

Sanford’s municipal elections were delayed until spring of 2022 following passage of a bill in the state legislature that required postponement after Census results were deferred by four months. Sanford is one of 35 cities in the state impacted by the law because it chooses representatives based on electoral districts.

Since Sanford and Broadway would normally have held their municipal elections on the same day, they have split the costs of holding these elections in years past. But with Sanford’s voting delayed until spring, Broadway was forced to incur the entire costs of the November 2 election.

Both Sanford and Lee County have approved their voting regions for the next decade through a process known as redistricting, but those maps must be approved by the state legislature. The North Carolina General Assembly has passed new maps for its own districts and the state’s 14 Congressional districts that will be chosen in 2022.

Those maps would give Republicans a sizeable edge in both state and federal elections, even though they make up the smallest slice of the North Carolina electorate. Democrats make up the largest portion of the state’s 7.1 million voters (35 percent), followed by unaffiliated voters (34.4 percent), and Republicans at 30.6, according to the North Carolina State Board of Elections.

If the recent past is an accurate predictor, it’s likely that these new maps will be headed for the courts. During the past decade, Republicans in the state legislature were forced to redraw the maps on several occasions after findings that they had gerrymandered them to perpetuate their control of the levers of power.

Meanwhile, subject to action in Raleigh, filing for 2022 elections is now set to begin on Monday, December 6, and end on Friday, December 17, with primaries on the calendar for Tuesday, March 8. All this could change, however, depending on the speed with which legislators move to approve the city and county districts.

Stay tuned, voters.