There are still two vacancies on the North Carolina State Board of Elections, meaning that the Mount Gilead mayoral election of last November continues to hang in limbo. At the board’s Dec. 22 meeting, chairman Larry Leake said he believes the board will likely order a new election, but that a super majority of four board members is required by law to complete the action.
By state statute, the board of elections is comprised of five members, a mix of Democrats and Republicans. At any given time, the party of the sitting governor has three seats, and the other party has two. Of the two seats currently vacant, one is of each party.
An article published earlier this month by the Elizabeth City Daily Advance reported that Mark Johnson, a spokesman for Governor Bev Perdue, said the governor has a list of nominees from the North Carolina Democratic Party to fill one vacancy, and that names are being reviewed from a list submitted by the North Carolina Republican Party for the other vacancy. The paper’s report said two of the three Republicans nominated were not interested in being appointed.
Governor Perdue has the option of filling one of the seats, but has not acted as yet.
Like Mount Gilead, Elizabeth City has a particular interest in seeing the board seats filled. In their situation, an incumbent city council member appeared to have lost his seat by five votes in a run-off election, yet he continues to serve by appointment because the matter of eight disputed votes has not been fully resolved. As in the local situation, the Pasquotank County Board of Elections forwarded their matter to the state and expects a new run-off election to be ordered, but that cannot happen without the super majority of four members.
Our request for an update from the governor’s press office has not been answers. We’ll continue to follow the story.