HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) — On Election Day 2021, FOX 46 has you covered in all the major local races. In one of Mecklenburg County’s largest races, Huntersville mayor pro-tem Melinda Bales is the projected winner over former mayor Jill Swain by 144 votes. Current mayor John Aneralla did not seek reelection.

Votes from early and absentee ballots put Bales in the lead by just 15 votes. The North Carolina State Board of Education reports 7,787 voters, or 5.82%, voted early or absentee in Mecklenburg County.

The Mecklenburg County Board of Elections reports extremely low voter turnout Tuesday. Polling numbers show less than 15% of voters showed up to the polls.

“Without Charlotte having a race and the county and the school board having a race, and nothing as a bond referendum, we were expecting a low voter turnout,” said Bales.

But still, the low turnout left some voters feeling discouraged.

“We need more turnout. My hope is that we’ll get more people to come out. More people will start paying attention to these elections and issues,” said voter Edward Bishop.

Perhaps the biggest issue on every Huntersville voter’s mind is growth and development. The town is split between people who want to preserve Huntersville’s small-town charm and those who want to develop its land to accommodate major population growth. Bales says when it comes to growth, she plans to follow the town’s 2040 plan and tackle each proposed development purposefully.

“The biggest things for me to accomplish will be bringing our community together, economic development, making sure that we manage our growth within our community well,” she said.

Bales says another one of her priorities is to include town residents in local politics.

“They can expect me to be accessible. I want to make sure that we are adding additional opportunity for communication,” she said.

The Mecklenburg County Board of Election will meet on Nov. 9 at 11 a.m. to certify the election results.

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