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Differing opinions led to discord again Friday among Wilson County Board of Elections members.
“We paused this discussion on Wednesday because there were three precincts that did not have Republican representation as judges,” Chairman Chip Futrell said. “It is my understanding that Rená made an effort and talked to the Republican chairman more than once.”
“And she does not have any names to submit,” Wilson County Elections Director Rená Morris responded.
There were two unaffiliated assistants in Stantonsburg who Futrell then made a motion to move to two Wilson precincts as judges.
“One of the requirements of the election law is that the majority of judges at a precinct must be from that precinct. The majority cannot be out of precinct judges, but we have that difficulty in several precincts,” said member Robert D. Brown. “If we’re going to move toward adhering to requirements of election law, we need to take that into consideration next time.”
It is unclear how many precinct officials serve at a polling place other than the one where they would vote.
“The statutes conflict with each other because we need representation from both parties as well as unaffiliated voters, but we also need to keep the majority of precinct judges from their own precinct, so in a way, those two items can conflict with each other,” said Futrell.
“And what do we do when you can’t get enough people?” asked member Wanda Davis.
“That is the situation we’re dealing with now,” Futrell said.
Member George Leach acknowledged it’s a work in progress to have officials serve in their home precincts as well as bipartisan representation at each of the county’s 24 precincts.
“I would hope both parties would be represented according to the election rules first and that is why I’m saying we should solicit officials,” he said. “And not just the director soliciting, but all of us who are affiliated with the two-party system as well as independents to see if we can solve this problem and come closer to a system of equity.”
Futrell’s motion to move promote two Stantonsburg assistants to Wilson judges was approved by the entire board.
“Why don’t I request a motion from someone on this board to approve the entire list as amended today for the March primary?” Futrell asked. “Would someone like to make that motion? Bob, would you like to make it?”
“I would not,” said Brown.
Futrell made the motion himself, which Davis seconded.
“OK, all in favor of the entire list of judges and assistants, please signify by saying ‘aye,’” Futrell said.
Futrell, Davis and Leach voted in favor while Brown and member Doug Inscoe abstained from voting.
“It is required to be unanimous,” said Brown.
“I knew he was going to say that,” Leach said.
“So I’ll open the floor to another motion,” Futrell said.
Brown was dismayed at not having officials to serve in their own precincts, but declined to make another motion.
“My recommendation to the group is for us to have Rená move forward with the list we have corrected and ended up today,” Futrell said. “We have no choice but to proceed with that last motion even if it wasn’t unanimous.”
“I agree she has no choice but to move forward,” Brown said, referring to directing Morris to send out letters to each of the election officials and set up training.