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Sheriff Candidate Bob Cook files protest of 2022 Primary Election results; delays certification of all races

Last updated on June 3, 2022


The Macon County Board of Elections was unable to complete a canvass of the May Primary Election today because Sheriff candidate Bob Cook filed a formal protest of the election results. 

The Board of Elections office received a protest from Cook on Friday morning. According to the complaint, Cook’s protest concerned the tabulation of the ballots during the unofficial results provided Tuesday, May 17. 

According to Cook, there was a discrepancy in the unofficial total number of ballots reported on Primary Election Day, May 17, and the number that is now being reported as of May 23.

Election night total ballots cast for Macon County were reported as 9,844 ballots, however, following the election and after further review in preparation of the state-mandated canvass of ballots, the current number stands at 8,613. The total number of ballots will change again after Friday’s counting of the absentee and provisional ballots, all before the election results are deemed to be official. 

According to John Noce, North Carolina Board of Elections representative, the incorrect number was generated on election day due to a coding error in the software. The program was coded with an option for unaffiliated ballots, however, there were no unaffiliated ballots in the primary, so the available space was automatically tallied with the number of Democratic ballots filed in the election. 

Although the error was acknowledged and rectified as part of the canvass process, because Cook filed a protest of the election results, the county’s canvass was recessed and will resume on Tuesday, May 31. When the canvass resumes on Tuesday, Cook will be afforded the opportunity of a hearing to express his concerns. Cook’s protest prevents any Macon County race from being finalized and deemed official until after the Tuesday, May 31 hearing date. 

The Macon County Board of Elections will still hold a ballot recount on Thursday, June 2 at 9 a.m. at the Macon County Community Building at the request of Sheriff Candidate Dereck Jones who lost the sheriff’s race to Brent Holbrooks, according to the county’s unofficial election results. 

*Brittney Lofthouse with The Southern Scoop is still home with COVID19 and was unable to attend the canvass today at the Board of Elections. For first-person reporting of the events, as well as additional information, visit Macon Media’s Facebook Page which was present and recorded the event. 

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