The Wake County Democratic Party wasn’t the only organization experiencing Board of Election nomination headaches this year. The Forsyth County Democratic Party is in an ongoing spat with the State Board of Elections over their nominees.
According to the Winston-Salem Journal, the State Board decided to take the extraordinary step of appointing the Forsyth Democratic Party’s 2nd and 3rd choices instead of reinstating the number 1 person on the Democrat’s list – incumbent Chairman Eric Elliott.
Elliot asserts that he followed the law during the early voting period prior to Election Day in 2008 when the State Board wanted to change already publicized voting times and distribute additional information on straight-ticket voting. In the matter of distributing handouts about straight party voting, Elliott sided with the Republican member and refused to change procedure midway through voting.
And, when told to hold meetings to discuss extending early voting hours, Elliot hesitated because of the requirement to give a 48 hour public notice for all but emergency meetings. Ultimately the meeting was held and this time Elliot voted with the Democratic member and voting hours were extended on November 1.
The fight is not over though; the newest appointed Democratic member has declined to serve and the Forsyth County Democratic Party is urging the State Board to reconsider.
This local skirmish illuminates some of the problems of a one-party system.
We ALL KNOW why the legislature does not include the presidential race in straight party voting. In the past, local politicians really didn’t care whether we voted for President or not (historically, North Carolinians vote for the Republican Presidential candidate).
Until last year North Carolina’s lawmakers and State Board of Elections hoped voters would only vote Republican at the Presidential level and not go on to vote the straight Republican ticket. But in 2008 they feared voters would ONLY vote for Obama and not vote the Democratic straight ticket. Only then did the State Board of Elections believe it was necessary to educate the voters on this ridiculous method of voting.
Were these last minute changes absolutely necessary? Or does the State Board of Elections have a tendency toward knee jerk reactions because they answer only to the whims and worries of the Party who appoints the majority.