One week ago, after his complaint against the $1.7 billion school bond referendum was denied by the NC State Board of Elections, former Guilford County Commissioner Alan Branson sounded like that would be the end of the road for his quest to defeat the bond – however, on Wednesday, July 6, a newly energized Branson said it was “likely” that he would continue the challenge in court.
Guilford County voters approved the massive $1.7 billion school bond in the May Primary election; however, it is illegal for Guilford County and Guilford County Schools to use taxpayer money to promote the passage of the bond.
Branson’s contention – along with his team of lawyers – is that Guilford County and the school system did just that: played fast and loose with state law and put out material and information to the public that not only “educated” voters about the bond, but also promoted its passage.
That’s a line Guilford County government has walked very close to – and perhaps crossed – many times in the past, but the county has never been called on the practice until Branson brought his complaint this year, first to the Guilford County Board of Elections, and then, on appeal, to the state board.
In both cases, the votes fell along party lines, which meant that Branson, a Republican, lost by one vote each time.
Branson said that, after the November election, when he expects major Republican wins, the courts may be more open to his suit than the Democratic-majority election boards have been. Branson is the Republican candidate for the at-large seat on the Board of Commissioners.
“We will probably end up heading down that road,” Branson said of a court battle for the giant bond referendum.
Branson has 10 days after he receives a letter stating the decision by the state board of election to file in court. He expected that letter immediately after the NC Board of Elections case in late June, however, he said that, as of Wednesday, July 6, he still had not received the letter.
Branson also sounded more optimistic this week about being able to raise some outside money to help pay for the fight which he has estimated will cost about $25,000.