Fayetteville Councilman Antonio Jones has called for a recount in the District 3 election in which political newcomer Mario Benavente leads him by just six votes at the last count, an election official said Monday, August 8. .

Jones made the formal request on Friday, said Angie Amaro, acting director of the Cumberland County Board of Elections.
The recount is scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 11 at the office of the Elections Bureau, Amaro said. It’s barely nine hours before the winners of the July 26 election are sworn in at 6 p.m.

The recount will be open to the public. The council offices are at 227 Fountainhead Lane in Fayetteville.
With the addition of mail-in ballots after a canvass Friday, each candidate received four additional votes each to bring the certified tally from 1,016 votes for Benavente to 1,010 for Jones. Benavente maintained the six-point advantage that made the difference in the count on Election Day.
For a non-national election in North Carolina, a candidate has the right to request a recount if the difference between the candidates does not exceed 1% of the total votes cast, according to state recount law.

Jones did not immediately respond to phone messages left Monday morning.
The recount request had to be in writing and received by the Elections Office by 5 p.m. on the first business day after the canvassing.
It would have been Monday.

“We have a recount scheduled for Thursday at 9 a.m.,” Amaro said. “We’re just going to recount the ballots in this district with absentees, provisionals and one-stop (early voting).”

On Friday, Benavente said he was confident the final count would confirm his victory.

“We are long past the era of suspended Chad,” he said, referring to the delayed count in Florida during the 2000 presidential election. “So I’m not too worried about a recount .”

In his experience, Amaro said that in most elections “everything normally stays the same” after recounts.
Benavente, 32, listed his profession as a community organizer and legal professional. He recently graduated from NC Central University with a law degree.
This was his first candidacy for public office.

Jones, 48, is a pastor and realtor. He told CityView Today late last month that he planned to request a recount if Benavente’s margin of victory remained small after the solicitation.

He alleged that his opponent lied to voters about him during the campaign.

“I have my own personal ethics,” Jones said ahead of Friday’s recount. “I won’t do those tactics, like sending lies and trying to defame people. I’ve seen the flyers. If it may have cost me, that’s fine. I’m running a clean campaign. That doesn’t move me. I’m not winning at all costs.”

In response, Benavente said, “We ran a grassroots campaign with many volunteers for the first time, involving young people in the political process. We knocked on doors, we pounded the pavement, and we had real conversations with people. And that’s the real big difference between our campaigns. I got to know my neighbours. We spent real hours in the community, and I don’t think the same can be said for my opponent.

The unofficial July 26 election tally put Benavente ahead of Jones 1,012 to 1,006, the tightest race of the night in the city.
On Friday, the electoral commission certified the 14,910 ballots cast in the elections. This included 198 mail-in ballots added during canvassing. A total of 24 provisional ballots were added on Thursday.

A total of 10,551 voters cast their ballots on polling day. A total of 4,137 ballots were cast in early voting.