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Judge: Leading candidate winner despite improper balloting

January 3, 2018

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina judge says a town council candidate leading by one vote is an election winner although several people living outside town were allowed to cast ballots.

Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway signed an order Tuesday declaring Ricky Hines should be sworn in as a Winterville council member.

November election results show Hines defeating the incumbent by one vote in a three-candidate race. The Pitt County Board of Elections certified Hines the winner after no one formally protested the balloting error. Ridgeway ruled the board couldn’t revoke the certification even after state elections board staff questioned the outcome.

State board spokesman Pat Gannon said Wednesday the board won’t appeal Ridgeway’s decision because of the unique circumstances. The actual state board remains vacant due to litigation by Gov. Roy Cooper.

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