If you think that running for office in North Carolina is not complicated, you probably haven’t spent enough time hanging out at the Board of Elections office.
Friday morning, Dec. 20, Deborah Napper arrived at the Board of Elections office in the Old Guilford County Court House a little before 11 a.m. to file to run in the District 5 Guilford County Board of Education race. Filing closed at noon, so Napper had plenty of time, which turned out to be fortunate.
Napper filled out the form and was ready to pay by debit card, but Guilford County doesn’t accept debit cards for payments of more than $50. The filling fee for the school board is $207. Still, with plenty of time, Napper, her husband and their 3-year-daughter old left to go to the bank and get a check.
After they left, the Board of Elections employees were crossing T’s and dotting I’s to make sure everything was in place for Napper to file as soon as she returned. It was discovered that although Napper was a registered voter in District 5, she was registered unaffiliated, which means she could not run in either the Democratic or Republican primaries on March 3.
Someone was sent to chase Napper down before she left for the bank and bring her back to explain why she couldn’t file.
Unaffiliated voters can run, but it is a lot more involved than filling out a few forms and writing a check. Director of Elections Charlie Collicutt explained the process to Napper. The good news was that she didn’t need a check for $207 dollars; the bad news was that to get on the ballot for the November election she would need to collect about 1,800 signatures before March 3.
Napper, who lives in Summerfield, said that she was very active in the schools in her district and she thought a lot more could be done to encourage parental involvement. She said that although she is unaffiliated, “I’m running on a Democratic platform.”
She said that she didn’t think gathering 1,800 signatures before March 3 would be a big problem and she still intended to be on the Nov. 3 general election ballot.
The only candidate who has filed to run for the District 5 school board seat is Republican Michelle Bardsley. Democrat District 5 Board of Education member Darlene Garrett has served since 2000 and is not running for reelection.