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Parks, alcohol get backing from voters in NC ballot questions

Voters enter the polls at Holly Springs Elementary in Holly Springs, NC on Election Day, Nov. 8, 2022.
Matt Ramey
for WUNC
Voters enter the polls at Holly Springs Elementary in Holly Springs, NC on Election Day, Nov. 8, 2022.

Alcohol and parks were among the winners in several North Carolina towns in Tuesday’s elections.

In the small Moore County town of Cameron — about halfway between Sanford and Southern Pines — about 75% of voters supported allowing beer and wine sales at stores, restaurants and bars. The town is one of the few remaining places in Moore County that didn’t already allow alcohol sales.

In the mountain town of Jefferson in Ashe County, 71% of voters approved the sale of cocktails. Allowing mixed drinks often helps small towns attract full-service restaurants.

In Wake County, voters supported several suburban towns’ plans to build parks and other infrastructure. Park bonds easily passed in Wendell and Holly Springs, but voters rejected a $60 million parks bond issue in Fuquay-Varina.

Fuquay-Varina leaders had said the borrowing could fund a new 70-acre park, an indoor sports complex or greenway trails. Some voters objected to the estimated 8-cent property tax increase that would come with the spending. Others were concerned that the town’s plan would require trees in existing park space to be bulldozed to make room for parking lots and ballfields.

Wendell voters also approved a transportation bond, and voters in Beech Mountain in Watauga County voted 84% in favor of building a new reservoir to solve water infrastructure issues.

In other small-town election news from across the state...

  • The highest vote totals in the towns of Seven Devils (Watauga and Avery counties) and Lucama (Wilson County) were for write-ins, potentially beating candidates whose names appeared on the ballots. Election workers will now manually tally up the write-in choices to see if one of them ultimately wins a seat leading the town.
  • Speaking of write-ins, that’s how the towns of Everetts (Martin County), Powellsville (Bertie County) and Mooresboro (Cleveland County) chose their next mayors, because no candidates filed for the offices.
  • And while “Mickey Mouse” is often a popular write-in option, voters of the town of Catawba, near Hickory, elected a mayor whose name appeared on ballots as Donald “Duck” Robinson.

And in a reminder that every vote counts, the winner of a seat on the Sylva Town Council in Jackson County could be determined by a coin toss. Two candidates were tied in the initial election night results:

A similar situation took place in the Hertford County town of Winton, where two candidates were tied for a seat on the town council with 55 votes each.

Colin Campbell covers politics for WUNC as the station's capitol bureau chief.