Political change pending

Published 10:52 am Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The state and local boards of election are likely to see change.

The differences will come as a result of the election and inauguration of Governor Pat McCrory.

On May 1, the governor will appoint new members of the North Carolina Board of Elections. The four-year terms will carry through until May of 2017.

According to Johnnie McLean, Deputy Director of the State Board, there is no requirement for the makeup of the board of elections other than the North Carolina Constitution says it should be made up of no more than three members of one party at the state level and no more than two at the local level.

The state board of elections is made up of five members while the local boards are comprised of three members. Currently there are three Democrats – Larry Leake, Robert Cordle and Ronald G. Penny – who serve on the state board with two Republicans – Charles Winfree and Jay Hemphill.

Traditionally the governor appoints the majority of members from his own party – in this case Republican – and the state board appoints members of their party to the majority on the local boards.

If that tradition holds true it means all local boards of election will change from two Democrats and one Republican to a single Democrat and two Republicans.

The Libertarian Party, which is recognized in North Carolina, does not have a right to a place on the board of election because of the low number of affiliates of the party.

The state party chairs will make recommendations to Governor McCrory as to who should serve on the state board. He will make appointments to the board and they will begin serving May 1.

The county party chairs will then provide names of those they wish to serve on the local boards of election to their respective state party chairs. The state party chair can forward those names as presented or make changes before they are given to the state board of elections.

The state board will appoint new members on June 25 and they are due to take office on July 16.