Limited voting panel continuing its work

Published 9:00 pm Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The committee appointed to determine if the way Beaufort County commissioners are elected can be changed continues its work today.
The committee’s meeting begins at 4 p.m. at the county administrative offices.
The 12-member committee was appointed by the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners to find, if possible, an alternative to the limited-voting method currently used to elect commissioners.
Since 1991, Beaufort County voters have used limited voting to elect commissioners. The method was imposed on the county by an order from a federal judge. The judge issued the order to enforce an agreement between county leaders and a group of black residents concerning the system of electing commissioners.
The committee was formed within two months after Gary Brinn, a first-time commissioner, took office in December. During his campaign for office, Brinn said he would address the limited-voting issue. The county studied the matter in 2003 and again in 2007, but no actions to change limited voting followed those reports.
When the committee met in February, members read the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Brinn said reading the act helped committee members understand why limited voting was imposed on the county. Brinn also asked committee members to review the 2003 study so they could discuss the pros and cons of proposals in that study at today’s meeting.
“We are going to look at the 2003 and 2007 stud(ies) and find what could work from these studies. Then, when we are done, have our 2013 proposal submitted to the commissioners for consideration,” Brinn said after the committee’s February meeting.
Brinn has said many Beaufort County voters do not like limited voting. Under limited voting, voters may vote for only one candidate during an election even though three or four seats on the board are up for grabs.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

email author More by Mike