Election Boards appointed
RALEIGH – After months of political wrangling, the Bipartisan State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement was finally seated last week with eight members (four Democrats and four Republicans).
Democratic appointees are former State Board of Elections member Josh Malcolm of Pembroke, who also serves on the Lumbee tribe’s Supreme Court; Raleigh attorney Andy Penry; attorney Valerie Johnson of Durham County; and Watauga County elections board member Stella Anderson.
Republican appointees are lawyers Stacy “Four” Eggers of Boone, John Lewis of Mount Pleasant and John Hemphill of Raleigh; and Ken Raymond, chairman of the Forsyth County elections board. Lewis is deputy counsel for the state Republican Party.
Two other “non-partisan” individuals were nominated for the ninth and final seat on the state board: Damon Circosta, executive director of the A.J. Fletcher Foundation; and Burley Mitchell, former Chief Justice of the N.C. Supreme Court. The decision between those two was left to Governor Roy Cooper, who chose Circosta.
There has not been a state Elections Board seated since June of last year, due to extended rounds of litigation between Gov. Roy Cooper and the Republican leadership in the state’s General Assembly. That meant all 100 counties were without Elections Boards as well.
Last week, the State Board appointed four members – two Democrats and two Republicans – to the 100 county boards of elections. The names were chosen from lists provided by the state’s political parties. These county board members will serve until at least June 25, 2019, or until their successors are sworn in.
Locally, those board members are:
Bertie County – William Michael Freeman and Morris Lee Rascoe (Democrats); and Carol Woodard and James “Donnis” Perry (Republicans);
Gates County – James Sears and Jimmy Eure (Democrats); and Leslie Hill and Melinda DeWitt (Republicans);
Hertford County – Johnny Sessoms III and Carl White (Democrats); and Albert “A.B.” Flanagan and Bryon Simonds (Republicans); and
Northampton County – Mary Faison and Vivian Branch (Democrats); and Vickie Evans and Mark Dawson (Republicans).
“We congratulate the 400 newly appointed county board members across the state and look forward to working with them to administer fair and accurate elections in 2018 and beyond,” said Kim Westbrook Strach, State Board executive director.
The State Board also appointed panels to hear candidate challenges in six, multicounty General Assembly districts. One of those impacts northeastern North Carolina (NC Senate District 1, which encompasses Gates and Hertford counties along with Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Hyde, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell, and Washington). That panel consists of Johnny Sessoms III, D-Hertford; Alice Malesky, R-Currituck; William M. Sawyer, D-Camden; Donna Elms, R-Dare, chair; and Alice Mackey, D-Hyde.
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