Bladen County Board of Elections director says his office is ready for candidate filing restart

ELIZABETHTOWN — As the deferred filing process for candidates in the 2022 election restarts, Bladen County Board of Elections staff are prepared for anyone who may come to political contests, and for anything that may come.

“Yes sir, we are ready,” said manager Chris Williams.

The new filing period was to begin at 8 a.m. Thursday and continue until noon March 4, unless challenged or court ordered.

And an element of uncertainty entered the political environment on Wednesday even after the state Supreme Court declined late in the day to delay the use of redistricting maps approved by trial judges earlier in the day. daytime.

The justices refused any delay despite a flurry of appeals from Republican legislative leaders opposed to the new lines for U.S. House seats, and lawyers from voters and advocacy groups disgruntled for the new Senate districts of the state that the trial judges upheld.

North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore was one of the people who said he would file an appeal.

“Today’s decision is simply glaring,” Moore said Wednesday. “The trial court’s decision to impose a map drawn by anyone other than the legislature is simply unconstitutional and an affront to every voter in North Carolina whose representation would be determined by unelected partisan activists.”

He continued, “Let me clarify: This court has effectively delivered a hammer blow to our state’s constitution and the rule of law, and I will immediately appeal this decision regarding the Congressional card on behalf of the voters.

State Senate Chairman Pro Tem Phil Berger took a more dovish stance.

The Republican senator released a statement on Wednesday that reads: “The General Assembly’s corrective legislative maps passed all court-mandated tests and were constitutionally consistent. A bipartisan panel of Special Masters affirmed this. We are grateful for the trial court’s decision today. We do not agree with the Special Masters imposed Congressional Interim Card and request a reprieve from this card, however, it is time to move on and allow the filing period to begin tomorrow morning.

The court ruling also means that the primary elections will remain on May 17. The Supreme Court had already suspended the filing of nominations in December and pushed back the March primary so that disputes challenging the maps approved by the Republican-controlled General Assembly in November could be tried.

A majority of justices — all registered Democrats — struck down those lines earlier this month, saying they were partisan gerrymanders who violated the state constitution by failing to treat voters who support Democrats fairly. .

Within two weeks, the General Assembly approved new congressional and legislative districts that it said met the Supreme Court’s requirements for partisan fairness and gave Democrats a path to win majorities.

On Wednesday, a panel of trial judges upheld alternate state House and Senate limits, but adopted a draft Congressional plan that would likely only be used for the 2022 election.

The justices accepted the recommendation of special experts they hired who said the United States House map approved by the General Assembly did not meet the statistical thresholds mentioned by the Supreme Court to give power substantially similar voting patterns to Democrats and Republicans in an otherwise tightly divided state.

“The court finds that Congress’s recovery plan does not meet the standards of the Supreme Court,” read the order from Superior Court Justices Graham Shirley, Nathaniel Poovey and Dawn Layton.

Republicans currently hold eight of the state’s 13 seats in the US House, with North Carolina getting a 14th seat this decade due to population growth.

The court’s new congressional plan makes changes that would likely help Democrats win a sixth seat, according to Asher Hildebrand, a Duke University politics professor and former congressional aide.

Republicans would be in good shape to win seven seats. And an open seat stretching from parts of Raleigh south into three fast-growing suburban counties would likely be very competitive, Hildebrand wrote in a social media post. Those changes would put hurdles in front of National Republicans seeking to win the full number of seats needed to win a majority in the House next fall.

As the filing process resumes, Bladen County Board of Elections Director Williams and Deputy Director Wanda Monroe will receive and process filings. And applicants will not encounter any changes to the rules that were in place before the filing period was halted in December.

“It’s still the same as before,” Williams said.

The new filing period was to begin at 8 a.m. Thursday and continue until noon March 4, unless challenged or court ordered.

These were lawsuits filed by the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters and math experts in one case, voters supported by an affiliate of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee in the other, and a court ruling North Carolina Supreme Court that brought the state’s electoral process to a halt on Dec. 9, 2021. A ruling on redistricting maps prepared by the Republican-controlled General Assembly allowed the process to restart.

Candidates who filed in December 2021 and whose Notice of Filing was accepted by the Board of Elections to which they filed do not need to file again if they still wish to run for the same seat on the Board of Elections. administration or the same political office, depending on the state of North Carolina. Elections Office. Applicants who wish to change their previous filing will need to submit an application withdrawal form.

In Bladen County, the list of candidates who filed before the shutdown includes Dublin Republican William Brisson, who is seeking re-election to the District 22 seat in the North Carolina House of Representatives, and Jon David, a Republican seeking re-election as District Attorney for Bladen, Brunswick and Columbus Counties.

The other candidates who filed before the judgment are:

• Bladen County Commissioners: Arthur Bullock, Democrat of District 1; Charles Ray Peterson, Republican for District 2; Reverend Cameron McGill, Republican from District 3.

• Bladen County School Board: Cory Singletary, County-wide Democrat; Gary Rhoda, Democrat of District 1; Vince Rozier, Countywide Democrat.

• Clerk of the Superior Court, Democrat: Althea Dixon Weaver, Democrat; Jason Britt, Republican; Cristin Hursey, Republican.

• Bladen County Deeds Registry: Beverly T. Parks, Republican.

• Bladen County Sheriff: Gary S. Edwards, Republican.

There are up to three election dates in 2022, according to the State Elections Board.

Voting for the postponed statewide primary and municipal elections is scheduled for May 17.

A second primary, if needed, and municipal general elections and possibly a runoff are due July 5, if no federal office is involved in a second primary. If a federal office is involved, the second primary will be on July 26.

July 16 is also the date on which any second municipal election will take place if there is no second primary contest.

Statewide general elections are due to be held on November 8.

In addition to offices specific to Bladen County, local voters here in 2022 will choose representation in the United States Senate, United States House of Representatives, State Supreme Court, United States Court of Appeals, State, District and Higher Court Judges, DA, State Senate. , and the State House.

Contact TC Hunter by calling 910-247-9133 or emailing [email protected]