By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • A new member of the Hoke County Board of Elections was sworn in Tuesday at a board meeting.
Emily Weidner is the first Republican woman chosen to join the county elections board, according to the local GOP. Weidner has served as an Election Day precinct judge, chief judge and a one-stop voting site worker in Hoke County for many years, the group said in a newsletter.
Weidner was chosen by the local GOP to step in for John Harry, one of the two Republican board members. Harry previously announced his intention to resign from the position once another member was selected to step in. Weidner was chosen by the local Republican Party to serve on the elections board, and her appointment confirmed by the state.
Harry did not specifically explain his reasons for choosing to depart. In a letter to the editor of The News-Journal – a statement he also read during a Board of Elections meeting – the outgoing board member said that the board is “partisan in practice” and “cooperation does not exist.”
By North Carolina state law, each county elections board consists of three members of the sitting governor’s political party, and two members of the opposing party. Currently that means each county board includes three Democrats and two Republicans. Hoke’s board members will now include Weidner and Gene Shelnutt as the Republican representatives, and Chair Gloria B. Hill, Walter Blue and Lornette McCaskill as the Democrat representatives. Harry served as board secretary.
The Hoke GOP attended the swearing-in ceremony Tuesday evening to honor Weidner, and Harry for his years of service.
The Hoke County Board of Elections is charged with preparing for and carrying out primary and general elections for local voters, including setting polling places and hours and handling any complaints or issues that might come up during elections. The local board has the authority to send matters to the state board, if they run into a problem that goes beyond the scope of what its members can address.
Other matters on the agenda for the meeting included consideration of approving minutes for September, October, November and December, a resolution to address missing minutes, and the February 2021 meeting minutes; a county commissioner letter; an equipment demonstration in reference to state legal guidance, a director’s report, discussion of a backup secretary; and potentially a closed session if needed.
The meeting was set to be held in the county commissioner’s room in the Pratt Building on Main Street.