Ahoskie Council seat vacated

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 14, 2007

AHOSKIE – Maurice Vann won’t be an Ahoskie Town Councilman, at least not at the present time.

The Hertford County Board of Elections declared Vann ineligible to be elected to the seat on the Ahoskie board after its canvass of the November 6 election. The canvass occurred Tuesday after which all election results were certified.

“There was an error on the part of the board of elections due to residency requirements,” Hertford County Elections Director Sheila Privott said. “Mr. Vann was allowed to file for the Ward B seat, but it has been discovered that he actually resides in Ward A.”

Privott said it was a human error as both Vann and the board of elections believed the candidate resided in Ward B. The line dividing the two wards is a block away from Vann’s residence.

Vann appeared to have been elected to the Ward B seat which was formerly held by his late brother Larry “Cutt” Vann, who died while in office.

Maurice Vann received 105 votes in Ward B to defeat incumbent C.R. Askew, who received 60 votes. Since Vann doesn’t live in the ward, however, he could not be certified as the winner of the election.

“As a result of the error, the Hertford County Board of Elections has informed the town of Ahoskie that the seat in Ward B has been declared vacant,” Privott said.

The elections director said the law was clear that if the winner of an election was disqualified, the seat was to be declared vacant.

Ahoskie Mayor Linda L. Blackburn said the town was aware of the vacancy and stressed she was saddened by the development.

“It’s a bad situation all the way around,” Blackburn said. “I feel for the voters. They went out to support Maurice and it just didn’t work out for them.”

Blackburn said now that the seat is vacant the Ahoskie Town Council will visit the matter in December.

“The council is aware that this is an issue and they are going to do the right thing,” she stressed.

Vann did have the right to force a new election in which he would have been pitted against Ward A Councilwoman Elaine Myers, but opted not to pursue that avenue. Myers ran unopposed on the Nov. 6 ballot and was reelected to a four-year term.

“He had a right to do that, but chose not to,” Privott said. “We sincerely regret the error and we appreciate the way Mr. Vann has handled the situation. He has been outstanding to deal with.”