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The Bladen County Board of Elections met on Tuesday evening for the purpose of reviewing absentee ballots. Chairperson Louella Thompson was not in attendance. Board Secretary Democrat Deborah Belle led the meeting with Democrat Patsy Sheppard, and Republicans Emery White, and Michael Aycock making the proceedings during the meeting valid.

The board approved all nine absentee ballots presented during the meeting. Director of the Bladen County Board of Elections, Christopher Williams reported there were over 70 absentee ballots requested, but only 19 returned to the elections’ office.

Before the board called the meeting to order, there was a moment for prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. Board member Sheppard was not present in the room during the Pledge.

After the meeting Aycok reported the North Carolina State Board of Elections has yet to contact the local board about an official training on how to conduct board meetings. The State Board of Elections ruled in a recent State Board meeting to dismiss complaints filed against Sheppard and Thompson accusing the two of breaking public meeting laws, but in the same motion said the local board would receive training on the proper policies and procedures in conducting public meetings.

The local board of elections will have absentee meetings on March 2nd at 5:00 pm and March 3rd at 5:00 pm, according to Williams.

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