Former Guilford County Commissioner Alan Branson, who’s a candidate for at-large county commissioner this year, has taken his fight against the $1.7 billion school bond referendum for Guilford County schools to the next level.
On Wednesday, June 15, Branson filed a complaint with the NC Board of Elections arguing that Guilford County government and Guilford County Schools illegally used taxpayer funds to help convince voters to approve the giant school bond, which passed in the May primary election.
Earlier this month, the Guilford County Board of Elections heard a similar complaint, but that board narrowly, along party lines, voted that there was not enough cause to have a hearing on the matter.
Branson, a Republican, said he was dismayed that the county board didn’t even address the evidence in its short meeting and he hopes the state board will be more receptive to the complaint.
In a press release, he wrote, “The Guilford County Board of Elections’ laughable dismissal of the Protest occurred upon 3-2 party line vote, with all Democrats on the board refusing to investigate the misconduct of government actors, including the Guilford County Government and School System … The overwhelming amount of evidence presented thus far in this case – before any discovery has even occurred – clearly shows the Guilford County Schools and the Guilford County Government violated the law by using taxpayer funds to promote the passage of the bond.”
Branson said this week that his main goal is to make sure the county’s taxpayers know how their money is spent. He also said that he wants to make sure that future elections are free of “illegal government interference.”
Branson said the fair thing is for the $1.7 billion bond referendum to be nullified and put up for another vote free of taxpayer funded public relations effort for passage.
“Specifically, that evidence will show that government actors sent mass texts, emails, voicemails, and mailers to tens of thousands of voters instructing them to ‘Vote Yes’ on the bond,” the press release based on the complaint noted. “Moreover, school administrators also deliberately removed high school students from educational settings to propagandize the bond all while incentivizing students to vote in exchange for exemption from teacher-made exams. The School System also paid for a political operative to create a voter analysis and created and posted videos in support of the bond.”
Branson’s complaint also argued that, on the campaign bond website, Guilford County Schools promised the creation of nearly 25,000 jobs in Guilford County – contingent on the bond passing.