Protests filed as Pierce/Wray battle tightens

Published 4:22 pm Sunday, March 17, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

On Friday, the Michael H. Wray for State House Committee filed protests in each of the three counties comprising District 27 (Halifax, Northampton, Warren) urging those local Boards of Election to take a closer look at several ballots that were rejected.

These protests were lodged on the same day as those election boards were conducting the state-mandated canvasses of the Primary held on March 5. In that election, political newcomer Rodney D. Pierce defeated Wray, the incumbent, in a tightly contested race for the Democratic nomination for that House District Seat.

The unofficial results from March 5 showed Pierce with 5,980 votes compared to 5,938 for Wray. Following the Canvass, the new totals are 5,987 for Pierce (50.15%) and 5,952 for Wray (49.85%).

“We appreciate the county boards of elections looking at the questions we have raised,” Wray said in a statement emailed on Friday. “We are not challenging any votes that were cast and counted. We are simply asking the county boards to ensure that they did not improperly reject any ballots.

“Our campaign has never asked for rules to be changed and we are following the procedure set forth in North Carolina law. We simply want to ensure that all valid ballots are counted,” Wray added.

“When we hold elections, we make voters a promise: if they participate in the process, their voices will be heard. It’s not perfect—our state in particular has a dark history when it comes to denying the will of the people, and especially of Black voters,” said Pierce in a statement.

“On Tuesday [March 5], the people of House District 27 turned out and chose me to represent them,’ Pierce continued. “Now, my opponent seems to want to change the rules more than a week after the contest ended, just because he lost. That is not how our elections and our democracy are supposed to work. In a time of a crisis of faith in our institutions, spreading conspiracy theories about our election process is wrong and it has real consequences.”

According to state law, a filed protest must be initially dealt with separately by each of the board of elections within House District 27.

The Northampton County Board of Elections will hold a preliminary consideration regarding the election protest filed on behalf of Rep. Wray at 10 a.m. on Monday, March 18. That meeting will take place in the Northampton County Board of Elections office at 9495 NC Hwy 305, Jackson.

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.

email author More by Cal