State elections board to hear Tyrrell sheriff’s race protest appeal today

Published 1:11 pm Friday, July 20, 2018

The State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement is scheduled to consider the Tyrrell County sheriff’s race protest on July 18.
Runner-up Joey Elliott alleges that Kevin Sawyer, who won the Democratic primary on May 8, did not divest himself of his Washington County domicile before the election and did not establish a Tyrrell County residence at least one year prior to the primary, both of which are required by state elections law.
The Tyrrell County Board of Elections on May 25 dismissed Elliott’s protest after finding no probable cause to proceed to hear evidence.
Elliott appealed the county board’s decision to the state board.
Sawyer’s lawyers have filed six affidavits and other evidence in his behalf which the state board will consider along with materials Elliott supplied earlier, John Lawson, a state board attorney, said July 16.
The agenda for the teleconference hearing by the state board specifies the third of five options state law allows the board to take: “(3) Receive additional evidence and then decide the appeal on the basis of the record and that additional evidence.”
Other options open to the board are:
(1) Decide the appeal on the basis of the record from the county board.
(2) Request the county board or any interested person to supplement the record from the county board.
(4) Hold its own hearing on the protest and resolve the protest on the basis of that hearing.
(5) Remand the matter to the county board for further proceedings.
State board chairman Andy Penry decided which option was to appear on the agenda,and it is the standard option in all protest cases, Lawson said.
Penry, a Raleigh-Durham area lawyer, is also adjunct professor in the schools of law at Campbell and Wake Forest universities.
The state board staff is overseen by a nine-member board: four Democrats, four Republicans and a member not affiliated with either of those parties, all appointed by the governor.