Board of Elections one member short until appointment approved
By Josh Bergeron
And there were two.
The Rowan County Board of Elections typically consists of three members, with the majority representing the incumbent governor’s party. Presently, however, the Board of Elections is evenly split, with one member representing each party, following Elaine Hewitt’s resignation last week from the board to join the local Republican Party’s leadership team.
The board is chaired currently by Jonnette J. Powell. Local attorney John Hudson is still listed on the Rowan Board of Elections’ website as a member. With two members, the board still technically has a quorum and can meet, Elections Director Nancy Evans said. The board’s schedule currently is fairly empty.
At the meeting where Hewitt resigned, for example, Evans said the board only reviewed the department’s budget. Because of budget limitations, Evans said the there isn’t much business for the board to consider during its regularly scheduled meeting each month.
“I don’t really have any pressing business for the board to come in to consider,” Evans said. “I have one of each party, so having another member is not anything that we have to have. If it were a Democrat that had resigned, then it would be an issue because we’d need someone from the other party.”
Even though meetings may not be necessary for essential business of the Rowan Board of Elections, quorums for meetings could hinge on a single absence. With a full board, a single absence wouldn’t result in the lack of a quorum.
To fill Hewitt’s former spot on the board, a recommendation — originating within the county party — has to be approved by the N.C. Board of Elections.
Prior to the election of Stephen Kidd as the new Rowan Republican Party chairman, John Leatherman, the prior chairman, selected a nomination that was then forwarded to the N.C. Republican Party. Leatherman’s recommendation was for Dave Collins, the owner of a local landscaping business.
Leatherman said Collins was recommended to him as Hewitt’s replacement multiple times. He described Collins as level-headed and community minded.
The earliest Collins could be considered by the N.C. Board of Elections would be March, according to spokesman Josh Lawson.
Evans said Hewitt’s resignation was a first in her time as elections director. Members of the board have died while serving but never resigned, Evans said.
Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246
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