Election Day 2020: Guilford County ResultsBy Yasmine Regester, Peacemaker Staff Writer / November 5, 2020
Election Day 2020 in Guilford County ended on Tuesday night with 283,018 ballots being counted in the unofficial totals. Early voting statistics show that 191,477 of those votes were cast during early voting, which ran from October 15 – October 30. According to the North Carolina Board of Elections data, 239,073 absentee ballots for Guilford County had been received by Election Day. Counts in N.C. are slated to continue up to Nov. 12. As of press time, postal facilities in Guilford County were being swept for mail-in ballots due to the Guilford County Board of Elections having received a mere 70 percent of those requested ballots back from voters.
Precincts across North Carolina remained opened for voting until 8:15 p.m. due to an initial delay in opening Tuesday morning at Precinct G74 Bluford Elementary School. Five other precincts relocated voters to other polling sites ahead of Election Day in order to comply with COVID-19 guidelines.
In the unofficial results from November 3, in the Guilford County Board of Commissioners District 4 race, Democratic opponent Mary Beth Murphy leads with 50.02 percent of the vote over Republican incumbent Jerry Branson, who received 49.98 percent of the vote.
Democratic candidate Carly Cooke leads in the Guilford County Board of Commissioners District 5 seat with 56.1 percent of the vote over Republican candidate, Troy Lawson’s 43.9 percent of the vote.
If unofficial results hold, a new representative will be elected to Guilford County Board of Commissioners District 6 seat. Democratic candidate James Upchurch received 52.85 percent of the vote over Republican opponent Jim Davis. Guilford County District 8 Commissioner Melvin “Skip” Alston ran unopposed in the General Election and therefore retained his seat.
Guilford County Board of Education Republican incumbent Pat Tillman leads with 50.12 percent of the vote in the District 3 race over Democratic candidate Blake Odum with 49.88 percent of the vote. Unaffiliated candidate, Deborah Napper leads the Guilford County Board of Education District 5 seat with 50.26 percent of the vote over Republican candidate Michelle Bardsley with 49.74 percent of the vote.
Two school board candidates ran unopposed. They were District 7 Democratic candidate Bettye Taylor Jenkins and Democratic incumbent T. Dianne Bellamy Small in District 1.
Guilford County voters also unofficially passed the school bond referendum to authorize the county to issue up to $300 million in bonds for school facilities and to levy taxes necessary to repay the debt with 72.50 percent voting yes and 27.50 percent voting no. The approved funds are going to support the GCS’s $2 billion master plan to completely reinvent the district’s aging schools and administration facilities. The plan dictates that the money will be used to address schools in the worst conditions, acquire land for new buildings, start repairs, implement technology upgrades and improve school safety.
However, the second bond referendum on a quarter-cent sales tax increase that Board of Commissioners hoped would help pay off the school bond, failed, with 66.94 percent of voters against the measure. Only 33.06 percent of voters were for the measure. County leaders have discussed that if the $300 million school bond was approved but the quarter-cent sales tax option did not pass; property taxes could possibly be increased to cover the bonds.
In the unopposed court judge races, Susan Bray won the N.C. Superior Court Judge District 18E seat. N.C. District Court Judge District 18 winners were: Ashley Watlington-Simms (D) seat 3, Caroline Tomlinson-Pemberton (D) seat 4, Marcus Shields (D) seat 5, Michelle Fletcher (D) seat 6, Angela Foster (D) seat 7, Angie Fox (D) seat 8, Tabatha Holliday Brewer (D) seat 9, Tonia A. Cutchin (D) seat 10, Bill Davis (D) seat 11, Kelvin Smith (D) seat 12, Brian Tomlin (D) seat 13, and Teresa Vincent (D) seat 14.
Ahead of Election Day, the Joe Biden Campaign brought rapper and actor, Common to Greensboro to help mobilize voters to the polls. During his visit on October 28, he participated in canvassing activities with the Guilford County Democratic Party, played ‘BIDEN,’ a 2020 version of the basketball game ‘HORSE,’ with community members at the Hayes-Taylor YMCA and marched with N.C. A&T State University students to the polls.
“The people in office that represent you, represent the issues that to matter to you. Overall change is going to take time, but people have to get to the polls and vote,” said Common.