Tuesday, 03 April 2018 19:33

Mayor: No apparent recourse to early voting issue

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Mayor Emery Doughtie said this evening there appears to be no recourse for a one-stop voting site in the city leading up to the May 8 primary.

He made his comments before adjournment of city council’s meeting.

His comments came after he appealed to the Halifax County Board of Elections Monday. The board voted to uphold a decision reached by the previous board which left Roanoke Rapids without an early voting site.

“I don’t know what else can be done,” he said following this evening’s meeting. “If there’s no option there’s no need to pursue it.”

Councilwoman Suetta Scarbrough said afterward she spoke with the state Board of Elections today, calling Raleigh as a citizen, and was told if the decision made by the county board was unanimous, there was nothing which the state do.

Three members of the four-person panel cast votes on the issue Monday. The person who was appointed for the fourth seat declined the appointment.

Scarbrough said she told the state office the issue “was causing a lot of unhappiness” in the city.

During the meeting this evening, the mayor said, “My sole purpose was to represent the people who live in this city.”

Roanoke Rapids, Doughtie said, makes up 25 to 28 percent of the county population.

Doughtie went to the board Monday to offer it the Lloyd Andrews City Meeting Hall on Jackson Street, where council meets and other functions are held. “I was told it was unsafe and there were chaotic situations (during voting). I didn’t feel like that was an accurate description of how voting (takes place there).”

He questioned early voting taking place at Halifax Community College where there have been two bomb threats within a week of another.

Said Doughtie: “I feel like I got shut down. I felt like I was trying to make it fair and equitable for the citizens of Roanoke Rapids.”

The decision which led to the city not having an early voting site was tied to oversight on the city’s part which made the Neighborhood Resource Center on Jackson Street unavailable.

The board has been using the center since 2014.


In other matters this evening:

Council approved a contract with Gregory T. Redman CPA to conduct the city’s annual audit for 2018 at a cost of $19,900.

Were told by City Manager Joseph Scherer in his report the city attorney, police chief and state enforcement officials met today with owners of Carolina Inn. The parties signed an agreement the owners must improve and maintain the physical property, improve security and operate the facility as a motel instead of a boarding house. “We feel this will help improve the living conditions there and drastically reduce the number of incidents the police department responds to there.”

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