RALEIGH — Voters will need to wait more than a month to learn the winner of the 13-way race for a seat on the state Court of Appeals.
Cressie Thigpen and Doug McCullough were the top two vote getters in the race and are automatically challengers for an instant runoff. But counties won't begin tabulating the runoff results until Nov. 29. State Board of Elections officials expect those results to be completed that same week.
The state employed the instant runoff method in several contests for the first time this year to avoid the cost and hassle of a primary and runoff for seats available so close to elections. Court of Appeals Judge James Wynn resigned in August to accept a nomination to the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Here's how it works: Voters ranked their top three choices for Court of Appeals judge. On Tuesday, counties tabulated results from the first column only. Thigpen, with about 20 percent, and McCullough, with about 15 percent, received the most votes.
At the end of the month, counties will count the number of votes Thigpen and McCullough received as voters' second and third choices. Those will be added to votes from the first column. Whoever gets the most votes wins.
Gov. Bev Perdue appointed Thigpen to fill in for Wynn until the election. McCullough is a former Court of Appeals judge.
Others elected to the Court of Appeals on Tuesday include: Judge Ann Marie Calabria, Judge Rick Elmore, Judge Sanford Steelman and Judge Martha Geer. Each was an incumbent. Steelman was unopposed.
Barbara Jackson edged out Robert C. "Bob" Hunter for a seat on the N.C. Supreme Court.
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