By Catharin Shepard •
Staff writer •
The Hoke County Board of Elections Director recommended dismissing a challenge filed by the campaign manager of a candidate who ran for the Hoke Board of Education this year.
In the matter of an election protest filed by Dr. Lent Carr, husband and campaign manager of school board candidate Dr. Deltarina Carr, Hoke Elections Director Towanna Jackson found that “the protest lacks merit,” and recommended that the Board of Elections “take no action” on the matter.
Unless an elections board member or the executive director of the North Carolina State Board of Elections raises an oral or written objection, the protest will be “administratively dismissed” as of Wednesday, November 25, according to documents from the county.
In the protest filing last week, Carr alleged that there was “a violation of election law, irregularity, or misconduct sufficient to cast doubt on the apparent results of the election, and seeks to have a corrective vote count and a new election,” Jackson summarized in the administrative dismissal recommendation.
Jackson moved to dismiss Carr’s protest for multiple reasons. The petitioner “fail(ed) to include a violation of election law or irregularity or misconduct sufficient to cast doubt on the results of the election,” Jackson wrote. Additionally, the elections director concluded that the protest didn’t include evidence to back up the claims. The protest “fail(ed) to allege facts sufficient to constitute substantial evidence” of violations or misconduct that could have affected the outcome of the election, Jackson wrote.
Carr’s protest in particular claimed that a partisan-marked sample ballot reportedly handed out by some of the incumbent’s campaign promoters, muddied the waters for Democratic African-American voters. Jackson noted in her dismissal recommendation that partisan-marked sample ballots are legally allowed as long as the document contains a prominent statement that it was not produced by a board of elections and is not an official ballot. The partisan-marked sample ballot “did not ‘murky the choice of voting Democratic African-American voters,’ since two candidates who were not listed on the sample blue ballot won their perspective races of Board of Education and County Commissioner,” Jackson wrote in the dismissal recommendation.
Although the Board of Education is nonpartisan, party affiliation of registered voters is public record, Jackson noted.
Dr. Deltarina Carr received 2,909 votes in the race for two seats on the Hoke County Board of Education. Candidate John Wright received 8,308 votes, candidate Keisha Gill received 9,593 votes and incumbent McAllister-McRae received 11,164 votes. McAllister-McRae and Gill were elected to serve four-year terms on the school board. The election results were official as of the canvass held Friday, November 13.