Two seek Ward B seat

Published 1:56 pm Monday, January 25, 2016

WINTON – Two men have filed for the Ahoskie Town Council’s Ward B seat following last week’s decision by the North Carolina Board of Elections to conduct a new election for that position.

Donald Kirkland, who resides on NC 561 East, and Charles Reynolds of Monaco Drive will square off on Tuesday, March 15 with the winner earning the Ward B seat on the Council.

On Jan. 15, the State Board ordered the Hertford County Board of Elections to conduct a two-day filing period this week (Wednesday and Thursday) and to place the names of those candidates on the March 15 Primary ballot. That decision was prompted by a protest, and later appeal, filed by Kirkland on Oct. 29 claiming that incumbent Ward B Councilman Maurice Vann did not reside in Ward B.

Vann handily defeated Kirkland in last November’s municipal election.

After his protest was dismissed by the Hertford County Board of Elections during a hearing held later in November, Kirkland appealed that decision to the state board. The latter group ruled that Vann could not prove he resided in Ward B. Vann admitted living in a rental home at 317 Maple Street, which is located in Ward A and thus found him in violation of the residency laws that govern an election that is contested within a defined district or territory.

Records on file with the Hertford County Board of Elections show that Vann listed an address at 222 Malibu Drive, his former residence. During the local hearing, Vann said he has rented a home at 317 Maple Street since 2001. That home is adjacent to his place of employment (Reynolds Funeral Home).

The State Board disqualified Vann as a candidate for Ward B. However, according to Ahoskie’s Town Charter, Vann can remain active as a Councilman until his successor is elected and certified by the swearing-in process.

Vann did file on Dec. 11 for the District 2 Hertford County Commissioner seat currently held by Ronald Gatling. That election is also part of the March 15 Primary.

Ahoskie’s Town Council is comprised of two representatives each from Ward A and Ward B, with the railroad tracks near the center of town serving roughly as the dividing line. There are a few blocks of Maple Street (east of the tracks) that are in Ward A. The Council’s fifth seat is voted “at large” (meaning the candidate can reside in either Ward).

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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