08/05/12 — Board of Elections: No basis for Tew District 5 challenge

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Board of Elections: No basis for Tew District 5 challenge

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on August 5, 2012 1:50 AM

Jerome Tew

A final challenge by District 5 write-in challenger Jerome Tew was deemed insufficient Friday afternoon as the Wayne County Board of Elections declined to schedule Tew a full hearing to discuss concerns he had with the results of the July 17 election.

That contest awarded the District 5 Goldsboro City Council seat to incumbent Mayor Pro Tempore Chuck Allen.

A witness was on hand to testify that her vote appeared not to have been counted in the District 5 race, but Wayne County Attorney Borden Parker said witnesses would not be called in the preliminary hearing, which was for the board to determine whether a hearing was necessary.

Along with that missing vote, the protest took issue with the changes in the totals, citing the unofficial margin of 13 votes from election night, a later count, which revealed the margin was three, and the canvass, which showed Allen winning by two votes.

The 13-vote margin did not take into account that votes cast for write-in candidates were not necessarily for Tew and that several voters did not properly fill in the circle designating it as a write-in vote, instead only writing the name.

Billy Strickland represented Tew at the meeting, where it was revealed Tew was protesting the results on the basis of three indiscrepancies he was alerted to concerning votes not counted.

Only one of those instances -- one in which a woman who voted along with her husband did not see her vote counted among those cast -- would be discussed during the preliminary hearing and Strickland failed to convince the Board that a full hearing would be necessary.

Board of Elections Secretary Chris Gurley moved that the hearing be denied due to insufficient evidence.

Republican Board Member Hal Keck said he would not second the motion. The Wayne County GOP had bankrolled the Tew campaign in the non-partisan election.

Board Chairman Joe Lofton seconded the motion, which passed 2-1, with Keck dissenting.

Allen is expected to be sworn in for his fourth consecutive term as District 5's representative to the City Council at Monday's meeting.