by Blake Proctor
Board Chair Louella Thompson gaveled the September 14th meeting of the Board of Elections to order at 5:01pm, immediately following a voluntary standing for the Pledge of Allegiance; the usual suspects remained seated. All members, plus Board Attorney Allen Johnson, were present.
Chair Thompson turned the floor over to Board Director Chris Williams, who refreshed the Board members’ collective memory concerning the deficiencies from the August 10th meeting in appointing Precinct Judges for the upcoming municipal elections.
At that time, there were several erroneous appointments made, and in three precincts, all three Judges were from the Democrat party. This, of course, resulted in a hue and cry from Wayne Schaeffer, the county’s Republican party Chairman.
To correct the matter, Mr. Williams presented alternative names of Republicans for consideration for each of the three precincts in dispute:
Lilly Grant was appointed by a unanimous vote for the Brown Marsh precinct; for the Colly precinct, Kathy Price was also unanimously appointed; and Glynda White was unanimously appointed to Elizabethtown’s first precinct.
Also unanimously appointed as poll workers were Margaret Lennon, Agnes Willis, Janice Blanks. Kristy Lennon, Helen Nance, and Mitchell Edwards.
Mr. Johnson then informed the Board that there has been a reversal of the change in the state law that allows convicted felons to be eligible to vote under certain circumstances. The original change from the NC Court of Appeals was to allow such felons to vote; however, that decision was reversed by the State Supreme Court.
In that reversal, the Supreme Court did say that all felons who had relied on the decision of the Appellate Court and subsequently registered to vote, would remain eligible to vote; however, under the reversal, no additional felons would be eligible to register.
A discussion then ensued to designate the dates the Board would meet to count absentee votes in this election. With seven alternate dates available, the Board, by unanimous vote, selected Tuesday, October 19th, Tuesday, October 26th, and Monday, November 1st for this activity.
In an attempt to rectify the situation from the August 9th meeting and calm the waters, Mr. Johnson had researched and written a treatise on the North Carolina Election Law for the Board; unfortunately, that opinion was erroneously sent to the county commission and then passed into the public domain.
For those interested, this state statute can be found online at NCGS 163-41, Precinct Election Officials.
From some quarters, there was an accusation of impropriety in that the report contained “confidential” information; from a copy of that report viewed by this reporter, however, there were no indications that the paper was or was meant to be of a confidential or classified nature.
Chair Thompson asked for and received a motion to adjourn, but Mr. Schaeffer requested a moment to rebut the accusatory statements made earlier by Board member Patsy Sheppard; Ms. Thompson said there was a motion to adjourn already on the floor, and the meeting was about to adjourn.
With a final bang of the gavel, and over Mr. Schaefer’s objections, the meeting did indeed adjourn, at 5:52pm.