02/04/04 — Date set for city re-election

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Date set for city re-election

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on February 4, 2004 2:02 PM

The Wayne County Board of Elections is getting ready for Goldsboro's rematch election between Danny Roseborough and Jackie Warrick in District 6.

Warrick and Roseborough will face off in a new election on March 23 for the district that spans eastern Goldsboro. The district is currently represented by Delmus Bridgers, who will leave the council once a new councilman is sworn in.

A new election was ordered for District 6 in December after the State Board of Elections found that the election process for that district had been tainted.

On Tuesday, the county Elections Board discussed upcoming dates and the training of poll workers for the election.

The deadline to register to vote in this election is Feb. 23. People who are already registered with the Elections Board, don't have to register again. Registration can be done at the elections office on 209 S. William St., at the public library or at the driver's license office when renewing a driver's license.

On Feb. 20, the county board can begin accepting absentee ballots by mail for the rematch.

March 16 is the last day to request an absentee ballot by mail.

One-stop voting for the March 23 election begins March 4 and goes through March 20. Voters can go by the Wayne County Board of Elections office between the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday for one-stop voting. The last day of one-stop voting falls on the Saturday before the election, and the office will be open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on that day.

Voting will take place Tuesday, March 23, from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

All of the District 6 precincts will be open. They are Saulston Fire Station, New Hope Fire Station, the Family Y, Oak Forest Road Church, New Hope Friends Church, Greenwood Middle School and Goldsboro Wesleyan Church.

The total number of voters that can vote in the March 23 election are 4,118.

Elections Board Chairman Geoff Hulse said that even though the board had the discretion to consolidate precincts in smaller elections, the board had opted not to do that in the upcoming election.

"We're not consolidating any precincts, even though only eight voters are registered to vote at New Hope Friends," he said. "Everyone will vote where they are registered to vote."

The board also discussed ways to improve the election process, in the hopes of avoiding another situation like the November election.

One of the reasons the state board ordered a new election for District 6 was because the number of ballots per precinct changed during the recount process.

Elections Director Gary Sims and other staff members believed that the change occurred because static electricity caused ballots to stick to the insides of the boxes during the recount. The ballots were then missed by the people counting and showed up during the count of the next precinct.

"I've talked with directors in other areas of the state," Sims said, "and everyone has had the same problem."

Board members suggested that the tabulators be removed from the machine if there is ever another need for a recount, so that the people counting can look in the ballot box.

During the last recount, the counters felt inside the boxes, but didn't remove the top to look inside.

Sims said that would be a good idea and agreed to implement that change for recounts.

Hulse also had some questions about two votes in District 6 that weren't counted by the county board, but were counted by the state board.

"I'm not arguing with the state board's decision," Hulse said, "but it seemed that they had some information that we didn't have."

Board member Chester Beverly said it was his recollection of the evidentiary hearing that a county Election Board staff member had to leave the witness stand twice to retrieve additional information on a voter.

One of the voters in question hadn't voted under her married name before, and the information given to the county board didn't show any voting history for her.

But additional voter information was found during the State Board of Elections hearing.

"All we can do is learn from it," said Hulse. "We have to make sure we have all the information and be more thorough in determining the voter's intent."

Beverly said that incident opened his eyes, and he agreed that it was important the board have the whole record before it.

Board member Joe Daughtery said he was disturbed by reports that he had somehow "illegally or illicitly" spoken to candidates.

"I spoke to a candidate in this office, when he came by to ask a question," Daughtery said. "All I did was provide information about the process, but it was made out to be something else."

Daughtery asked Sims to check with the county attorney to find out if board members were not supposed to give candidates information about the election process.