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County election boards close to full membership

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By Jon Hawley
Staff Writer

Thursday, February 14, 2019

County boards of elections in North Carolina still aren't fully in place, but they are getting close.

The State Board of Elections partially filled the county boards for 75 counties when it met last week, according to state board spokesman Patrick Gannon.

Twenty-four counties got no appointments because local party chairs didn't send in nominees for consideration, he said. Appointments in Bladen County, where votes for the 9th Congressional District remain contested, were also tabled until after an evidentiary hearing, he said.

The State Board of Elections appointed up to four members per county board, leaving the fifth and final appointment to Gov. Roy Cooper.

Following years of legal fights between Cooper and Republican lawmakers over the shape of the state and county election boards, state law allows the governor to appoint the chair of each board, which in practical effect should give his party 3-2 control over boards.

Based on the state board’s appointment list, the Pasquotank County Board of Elections now includes: Michele Aydlett and Addie Griffin, Democrats, and Elizabeth Godfrey and Frances Childs, Republicans. Aydlett, Godfrey, and Childs served on the prior board, which, along, with the 99 other county boards were dissolved due to a court ruling last year.

The other Democrat who served on Pasquotank's last board was Jacquelyn Brown. She was nominated but the state board didn't appoint her. It's unclear if Cooper plans to appoint her as chairwoman.

In Camden, the state board’s appointments are Democrats Ricky Wilson and Brenda Sawyer, and Republicans Susan Hicks and Teresa Waller.

In Chowan, the state board’s appointments are Jerald Perry and Lynn Partin, and Republicans Robert Reiheld and Linda Tiller.

In Currituck, the state board’s appointments are Democrats Susan Johnson and Alex Gottschalk, and Republicans Karen Ish and Alice Malesky.

County boards of elections oversee local elections, including by setting early voting hours within parameters of state law, and hear election-related challenges.

When Cooper will make his appointments is unclear. His office didn't respond to an email sent Tuesday.

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