It hasn’t received much publicity but the 100 counties in North Carolina including Guilford County have not had boards of elections since the courts declared the old North Carolina Board of Election unconstitutional in December.
Now there is a new state board which will appoint four of the five members of the new county boards. Governor Roy Cooper will appoint the fifth member of all 100 boards, which means they will almost certainly all have a three to two Democratic majority.
Both local parties seem pleased with their respective two members who were serving on the four-member board of elections.
Each party, asked by the NC Board of Elections for three nominees, nominated the two previous members and included one new name in the mix.
On Tuesday, Jan. 29 the leaders of the Guilford County Democratic Party nominated Jim Kimel, a former Guilford County district attorney, Rev. T. Anthony Spearman, the president of the NC NAACP, the two Democratic members of the previous board and Carolyn Wilson Bunker, a Guilford College graduate who lives in High Point and has served as president of the Democratic Women of Guilford County.
Guilford County Republican Party Chairman Troy Lawson said the Republican Party had selected its three nominees as well: Kathryn Lindley and Eugene Lester who served on the previous board and Chuck Winfree. Lindley is a Greensboro attorney who has served as chair of the elections board, and Lester is an attorney who chairs the Greensboro Zoning Commission.
Winfree was a Guilford County Commissioner in the 1990s and was on the North Carolina Board of Elections from 2001 to 2013.
Kimel, Spearman, Lindley and Lester were all serving on the previous four-member Board of Elections at the time it was disbanded on Friday, Dec. 28, 2018.
A recent complete overhaul of the NC Board of Elections is what gave both the Democratic and Republican parties in Guilford County the chance to nominate new members.
There’s no guarantee the state board will honor the wishes of the counties’ two parties and appoint those on the lists sent to Raleigh; however, there is an expectation among many that the new state board will, as has been the case in the past, very strongly consider the nominations from local parties.
So there’s a good chance that the coming Guilford County Board of Elections will look just like the old board with one additional Democratic member.