Following error, Butner could be removed from office

Published 12:10 am Saturday, August 1, 2015

Rowan County Board of Elections Chairman Mac Butner’s appointment was the result of a clerical error, and he is now facing removal from the position, according to local and state officials.

Butner, 62, is a real estate broker who became the subject of criticism for racially charged Facebook posts while he was chairman of the Rowan County Housing Authority board. One post focused on participants in the Moral Monday movement. Butner said whites weren’t participating in Moral Monday Marches because “they were too busy working being productive good citizens.”

Butner, a Republican, has been criticized by the state party for his previous statements. Now, he’ll be the topic of a public hearing at the next state board of elections meeting.

North Carolina Elections Board Chairman Josh Howard on Friday told the Associated Press he will hold a public hearing to consider the removal of Butner at the state board’s next meeting. A date is not yet scheduled.

Howard’s statement comes after a spokesperson for the North Carolina GOP on Thursday said the party was unaware of Butner’s controversial past. The state party called on Butner to resign and said his appointment was the result of a clerical error.

Rowan County Republican Party Chairman Stephen Kidd on Friday confirmed that Butner’s appointment resulted from a clerical error, but declined to describe the incident further. He referred any additional questions about Butner’s appointment to the North Carolina Republican Party, which couldn’t be reached for comment on Friday.

The exact details of the error are unclear. However, Butner wasn’t on the list of potential candidates submitted to the State Board of Elections by a June deadline. At the state board’s June 30 meeting, the state GOP had only submitted Nancy Holshouser and Tommy John Costantino as candidates for the Rowan County Board of Elections.

Because general statutes require three Republican Party and three Democratic Party names for each county board of elections, the state delayed action on Rowan appointments until its July 15 meeting, according to N.C. Board of Elections spokesman Josh Lawson. Candidates for local boards of elections are prioritized by the local party’s preference before being forwarded to the state board of elections.

Two members of the governor’s party and one member of the minority party are appointed.

Earnest said the state board of elections relies heavily on local political parties to vet candidates prior to submission. This year, the state board appointed the top choices for both parties in every county. And, Butner’s name was submitted with a No. 1 priority attached by July 15. He was the only one of Rowan County’s three candidates for appointment to submit a resume with his application.

Butner’s submitted resume is one page. It contains previous job titles, college degrees, professional licenses and community involvement. His Rowan County housing board chairman position is included on the submitted resume.

The state’s records show Costantino and Butner being appointed to the Rowan County board. However, Costantino resigned from the position because a relative is running for a town board spot in the 2015 municipal races. Local business owner Dave Collins was selected for re-appointment following Costantino’s resignation.

The Associated Press contributed.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246