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Brunswick County Democrats call on county commissioners to fund new election board positions

PRESS RELEASE

Contact: Lon Anderson

May 3, 2024


The Brunswick County Democratic Party (BCDP) today called on the county’s Board of Commissioners to review its decision denying two new staff positions for the Board of Elections (BOE).


“Our County is one of the fastest growing in the nation and has added over 69,000 residents between 2000 and 2020,” explained Democratic Party Chair Shelley Allen. “The BOE has not added full-time staff since 2016. But our population continues to grow rapidly, which results in greater numbers of voters.”


Allen said the county commissioners have declined the BOE’s request to add two full-time positions for the second year in a row. “Given our growth, the increased complexity of new voting laws and the resulting expanded workload, this is an unreasonable and very difficult position for the BOE,” she said.


At its next meeting, Monday, May 6, the county commissioners are expected to reduce the BOE’s budget by $350,000 from the request made by the BOE. The meeting will be held at 3 p.m. at 30 Government Center Drive NE, in Bolivia. Allen is urging the public to show up and oppose the proposed cuts.


“This is untenable for the BOE, which just a year ago was honored by the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence, a bipartisan organization, citing it as one of 10 Centers for Election Excellence” in the nation,” Allen explained. “It’s unfair to expect the BOE to continue meeting those high standards without more resources to support voter outreach and campaign finance services.”


“The huge irony here,” Allen observed, “is the same organization that recognized our BOE for its excellence also provided grant funding to elections boards around the country, including ours, to help them stay afloat during the Covid pandemic. That outbreak strained elections operations nationwide, with the massive public switch to absentee balloting.”


Last year, county commissioners chastised the BOE for accepting the money but promised they would provide whatever money the BOE needed to operate.


“Well, this is a presidential election year, and now those same county commissioners will have the opportunity to live up to their promises,” Allen said.


On Monday, Allen will be testify on behalf of restoring funding for the two staff positions to the BOE’s proposed budget.

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Press Coverage:

(WHQR)


Outcome, from WHQR:

"Director Sara Lavere said the board of elections needs two more employees to cope with population growth. But the commission said they can't do that without increasing the property tax rate. They've since reached a compromise: one full-time, one part-time."

--Nikolai Mather

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