Richmond County will likely see a Board of Elections shakeup this summer now that North Carolina has a Republican governor.
Traditionally the majority of members on the Board of Elections at both the state and county levels has been determined by the party of the governor.
This week Gov. Pat McCrory’s appointments to the state board of elections — three Republicans and two Democrats — took effect, a choice reflecting GOP control over state government.
“On the last Tuesday in June of every odd numbered year the State Board of Elections appoints the County Board of Elections,” said Connie Kelly, Richmond County Board of Elections director.
The current members on Richmond County’s Board of Elections are Hilda Pemberton, Chair, a Democrat; Carlton L. Hawkins, Secretary, a Democrat; and Alton Bruce “A.B.” Brown, member, a Republican.
Pemberton has served on the board since 2005 and as chair since 2007. Hawkins has been on the board since 2007, and Brown was appointed in August 2012, said Kelly.
“It’s not known at this time who the newly appointed board members will be. We have not received any information from the parties as to who they have nominated,” Kelly said Friday. “The local party chairs submit the names of persons they recommend for consideration to the state party chairs and from there it goes to the State Board of Elections for the actual appointment.”
As Chairman of the Richmond County Republican Party, Josh Austin, along with input and advice from the county GOP Executive Committee, will be nominating three people to fill the two positions that the Republican Party will fill on the three-member Board of Elections.
“There will be some continuance on the Board of Elections as Dr. A.B. Brown, the only current Republican on the BOE, has agreed to stay on as one of the Republican members. We have yet to decide on who the other two nominees will be for the other position,” Austin said on Friday.
Nominations are due to the State Republican Party by the first of June, he said. They take the local party recommendations and then submit them to the State BOE who approves or denies.
“Regardless of whom is appointed by either party, my hope is that there is no change in Director of the Board. Connie Kelly does an excellent job in a non-partisan way and would provide the most continuity for the new board,” Austin said.
Board members are appointed every two years. The county board takes their oaths in July, Kelly said.
In August, the board meets to appoint precinct election officials. As is the case with the board’s appointments, each precinct will have two Republicans and one Democrat appointed to serve a two-year term.
The last Republican Governor to serve in North Carolina was James G. Martin, who took office in 1985 and remained there until 1993.
— Editor John Charles Robbins can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 13, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.