Ahoskie Special Election

Published 12:08 pm Thursday, March 17, 2016

AHOSKIE – Charles Reynolds will become the newest member of the Ahoskie Town Council.

In a special election here Tuesday, Reynolds defeated Donald Kim Kirkland by a wide margin after the North Carolina Board of Elections threw out the results of the November 2015 municipal election for the Ward B seat based on a non-residency issue by the winner.

Reynolds collected nearly 76 percent of the vote as he was named on 359 ballots. Kirkland received 88 votes.

The unofficial results show Reynolds winning two Ahoskie precincts that are in Ward B. In Ahoskie 3, Reynolds won by a wide margin (122-13). He narrowly defeated Kirkland in Ahoskie 2 (59-51).

Reynolds also won handily (167-23) among those casting One-Stop and Absentee by Mail ballots.

On Jan. 15, the North Carolina Board of Elections ordered a new election for the Town of Ahoskie’s Ward B seat that was contested in November’s municipal election, which later ended in a protest filed by Kirkland.

The ruling by the State Board found that current Ward B Councilman Maurice Vann was in violation of the residency laws governing an election that is contested within a defined district or territory. 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. The Council’s fifth seat is voted “at large” (meaning the candidate can reside in either Ward).

Additionally, the ruling ordered the Hertford County Board of Elections to conduct a special filing period on Jan. 20-21 for that Council seat. Reynolds and Kirkland were the only candidates to file

As part of the state’s ruling, Vann was disqualified from filing as a Ward B candidate.

The ruling came after Kirkland filed an appeal with the State Elections Board. Kirkland, who was handily defeated by Vann in last November’s municipal election, initially protested on Oct. 29 (just five days prior to the Nov. 3 election) to the Hertford County Board of Elections, claiming that Vann resided in Ward A and not Ward B.

Despite learning that Vann did indeed reside at 317 Maple Street, which is in Ward A, the Hertford County Board of Elections dismissed Kirkland’s protest. That three-member board ruled there was no sustainable evidence as to any violation of the law, a decision that prompted Kirkland to file an appeal with the State Board of Elections.

After listening to testimony from Kirkland, Vann and Hertford County Elections Director Shelia Privott at a hearing held in Raleigh, the State Board overturned the county’s board ruling by finding that Vann resided in Ward A and threw out the results of the November election.

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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