01/18/04 — Wayne gets state orders on elections

View Archive

Wayne gets state orders on elections

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on January 18, 2004 11:02 PM

The Wayne County Elections Office received the state orders regarding two municipal elections just before 5 p.m. Friday, and managed to serve City Councilman J.B. Rhodes before the end of business.

The State Board of Elections upheld the results of the Nov. 4 elections for the District 1 race on Dec. 19, but ordered a new election for District 6.

That means Jimmy Bryan is scheduled to replace Councilman J.B. Rhodes on the City Council, but Jackie Warrick and Danny Roseborough will face off in another election.

Tuesday night's city council meeting will be the last one for Rhodes, unless a Wake County Superior Court judge decrees otherwise. Rhodes has said he will appeal the verdict.

Gary Sims, county elections director, said that once the orders are served, his office has to wait 10 days before processing them.

The Wayne County Elections Office served Rhodes with the papers immediately because he was the only candidate who plans to appeal the decision.

Sims said the other three candidates would receive the orders at the beginning of the week.

Gary Bartlett, the state's elections director, said that it would be at least 75 days from the written issuance of the Dec. 19 decision before a new election could be held. It takes a little longer to hold new elections in Wayne County because it is one of 44 North Carolina counties required to get clearance with the U.S. Department of Justice for election changes.

"We fall under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act," Sims said. "I'm not sure exactly what needs to be done, other than to notify the Department of Justice. The exact date of the election will come from the state."

Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act was intended to stop states that were making it difficult, or impossible, for blacks to vote.

Although the section was intended to be temporary, it has been extended each time Congress has amended the act. Under the 1982 amendments, section 5 will automatically expire in 2007, unless extended by Congress.

The preclearance is needed in counties that required a test to vote or had less than half of their voting-age population registered or voting in the 1972 presidential election.

In all, 16 states, or parts of states, are now covered by Section 5 preclearance.

Sims said that he plans to get with County Attorney Borden Parker at the beginning of the week so they can send the information to the Department of Justice.