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Elliott’s protest continues

The State Board of Elections “likely” will hear Joey Elliott’s protest appeal in the Tyrrell County sheriff’s election sometime in July, state board public information officer Patrick Gannon said July 2.

State law says that a sheriff candidate must be a county resident for one year prior to the election.

Elliott charges that Sawyer violatede two state elections laws when the Democratic primary election was held on May 8.

Elliott trailed Sawyer 360 to 247 votes while Nathan McPeak received 208 votes.

Elliott asked the Tyrrell elections board to find Sawyer ineligible and to declare the runner-up (Elliott) the winner of the primary election. There is no opposition from unaffiliated or other party candidates in November.

The Tyrrell elections board dismissed Elliott’s protest on May 25 on a 2-1 vote with one member absent, finding there was no probable cause to hold a protest hearing.

Minutes of the county board meeting and Elliott’s protest were sent to the State Board of Elections on May 29, county attorney David Clegg indicated.

Gannon said July 2 that no date has been finalized for state board action, but it will “probabley be in July.”

The nine-member state board will review the 40 pages of documents Elliott and the county board submitted, and give Elliott and Sawyer opportunity to state their cases and to be questioned, Gannon explained. The hearing will probably be in person, but some participants may be heard by telephone, he said.

The state board may decide among several options, one of which is to remand the case to Tyrrell County for further action if it reverses the county board’s May 25judgment, Gannon said.

“It would not be unusual” for the state board to refer the entire matter back to the county board for hearing, a reliable county source confirmed.