Controversy surrounds Fair Bluff mayoral election

Reported by Gavin Johnson - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WECT) - The disputes over the Columbus County elections have come to an end.

Three candidates all lost their races on Election Day, but were hoping to change those outcomes.

Earlier this week Columbus County Board of Elections held several hearings on complaints that some votes cast should not count.

Monday, a dozen people, including Fair Bluff's Police Chief and Town Clerk, were subpoenaed to testify in the Fair Bluff election protest - a hearing that lasted for about six hours.

Fair Bluff Mayor Randy Britt, Sandyfield Mayor Perry Dixon, and Brunswick Town Commissioner candidate Phyllis Jones said some people voted in towns where they don't live.

Ultimately, the board dismissed the dispute over the Sandyfield mayoral and the Brunswick County Commission races.  The results will stand in those two elections; with Garry Keaton as the mayor of Sandyfield and Minnie Hill, Nancy Hill, and Alonzo McArthur as county commissioners.

The controversy over the Fair Bluff mayoral race, however, will now go to the State Board of Elections.  Incumbent Spruell Britt lost to Chris Scott by two votes.

The new mayor was suppose to be sworn in during Tuesday night's meeting, but because of the debate, Britt will continue to serve as acting mayor until everything is ironed out.  He believe sending the issue to the State Board of Elections is the right way to go.

Columbus County Board of Election member David McPherson said the board felt there was enough evidence presented that could change the outcome of the election.

Scott feels the protest is part of a political machine designed to keep new people off council.

"If they want you on the board you can get elected," said Scott.  "If they don't want you on the board you can't get elected and I'm the prime example of that."

Now, both Britt and Scott will have to wait to see what the state will rule in the election protest.

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