Thursday, 14 February 2019 20:17

County elections boards waiting on governor

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ROCKINGHAM — It’s been a week since the N.C. Board of Elections appointed four members to the Richmond County elections board but there’s still no chairman.

Gov. Roy Cooper has yet to announce who the chairs will be for the 100 county boards of elections.

Last Thursday, the state board appointed Republicans A.B Brown and Ernie Walters and Democrats Hazel Robinson and Hilda Pemberton.

While those members can be sworn in, they can’t have their organizational meeting to elect a vice chair and secretary until the governor appoints a chairman.

Elections Director Connie Kelly said the board members are usually all sworn in together.

Out of the six candidates submitted by the two main parties, two remain in limbo: Democrat Carlton Hawkins and Republican Patrick Montgomery.

Sources say it’s likely Hawkins will be named chairman due to his experience and the fact that he’s a member of the governor’s party.

Hawkins has been a member of the Richmond County Board of Elections since 2008.

Prior to Robinson’s appointment last April, Hawkins was the lone Democrat on the board, alongside Brown and Walters.

Brown was first appointed in 2012 and Walters in 2014. Pemberton previously served on the board from 2005-2013 until state board changes by then-Gov. Pat McCrory.

When the state board released the names of party submissions, 19 counties had no Republican candidates: Cabarrus, Caldwell, Clay, Cleveland, Columbus, Duplin, Iredell, Jones, Martin, Orange, Person, Randolph, Rowan, Stokes, Swain, Tyrell, Warren, Watauga and Wilson.

Three counties — Halifax, Northampton and Washington — had no submissions from the Democratic Party; and Gates and Perquimans had no submissions at all.

According to state law, only members of the two political parties with the highest number of registered voters are eligible to be appointed to county elections boards.

Critics of the law have said it is unfair to third parties and the 2 million unaffiliated voters in the state. Unaffiliated voters outnumber Republicans by more than 100,000.


Last modified on Thursday, 14 February 2019 20:26