Proposed law may change Bertie School Board election

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 9, 2007

WINDSOR – If approved, legislation currently under consideration in the North Carolina House of Representatives will change the date in which Bertie County voters cast their ballots for Board of Education members.

Representative Annie Mobley, recently appointed to the District 5 seat that covers Bertie, Gates, Hertford and Perquimans counties, is the primary sponsor of House Bill 922. That proposed legislation calls for Bertie County Board of Education candidates seeking election in even-numbered years to be included on the General Election ballot in November.

Under current guidelines, the election of Bertie Board of Education candidates is held during the May Primary. Since the Board of Education race is a nonpartisan election, the winners of the May Primary are the candidates of choice, meaning they face no opposition in November’s General Election.

However, since Board of Education members are not sworn in until December, there has long been concern over a sitting school board member losing their bid for reelection and still holding office for six months. While this particular issue was not listed in the text of House Bill 922, it does basically address that situation by limiting to one month the time between the November election and the swearing-in of board members in December.

According to the House of Representatives website, Mobley is the bill’s main sponsor. Secondary sponsors include Representatives Michael Wray (D-27th), Lucy T. Allen (D-49th) and Angela Bryant (D-7th).

Mobley introduced the bill on March 19 and the proposed legislation passed its first reading one day later. The bill is now in the hands of the House Committee on Election Law and Campaign Finance Reform.

The bill’s passage requires a majority vote of House and Senate members.

If approved, the bill will also change the filing date of Bertie Board of Education candidates. Notices of candidacy shall be filed no earlier than noon on the second Monday in June and no later than noon on the second Friday in July. The names of the candidates shall be printed on the ballot without reference to any party affiliations.

Meanwhile, the wording of the bill does not change residency districts in Bertie County. The law requires candidates for each of the five seats and board members elected to those seats to reside in particular districts, but all seats shall be voted upon by all eligible voters in the county.

The five districts are as follows:

District 1 n Windsor Township.

District 2 n Merry Hill and Whites Townships.

District 3 n Colerain and Mitchell Townships.

District 4 n Roxobel and Woodville Townships.

District 5 n Snakebite and Indian Woods Townships.