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N’hampton loses Pitts

NEW BERN – Tonya B. Pitts has been named Director of Elections in Craven County.

The current Northampton County elections director was chosen from a pool of more than 20 applicants Thursday morning.

Reached by telephone Friday, Pitts said she was excited about the new opportunity, but was also sad to leave Northampton County.

“Obviously, I’ll miss my family since I was born and raised in Northampton County,” Pitts said. “It’s difficult to leave the community and family environment here.”

Pitts said she would also miss the individuals she had worked with on the Northampton County Board of Elections and those who had served as precinct officials during her four years with the county.

While she will miss her home county, Pitts said the offer in Craven County was one she couldn’t pass up for a number of reasons.

“I love the increased responsibility,” she said. “I like the challenge of moving from a county with approximately 14,000 registered voters to one with 61,000 registered voters.”

Pitts indicated she also had long had an interest in the Craven County area.

“I’ve had an attraction to that area of North Carolina for some time, but never realized it would be an opportunity for me,” she said.

Craven County Board of Elections Chair Esther Hardin told the Sun Journal in New Bern she and the board were pleased to welcome Pitts.

“We feel fortunate to have found a person who has experience in elections to take over the Craven County Board of Elections Office,” she said.

The Craven County board chose Pitts by a unanimous vote Thursday morning. State Board of Elections Director Gary Bartlett had given Craven officials the authorization to hire her before noon the same day.

Pitts said she would have the same goal in Craven County she had in Northampton County n provide fair and impartial elections.

“I look forward to serving the citizens of Craven County, conducting fair and impartial elections,” she said. “That is absolutely essential to having democracy as we know it.”

Pitts took over as Director of Elections in Northampton County on September 1, 2003. She has conducted one presidential election and several state, county and municipal elections.

While she is leaving before the November municipal elections, she indicated all preparation work has been completed.

Pitts’ last day in the Northampton County Board of Elections office will be October 5. She will begin her new duties on October 15.