ONLINE UPDATE: BOE will hear challenge against Gott on Oct. 16

by Kelly Corbett
Friday, October 12, 2012

A challenge was formally submitted to the New Hanover County Board of Elections on Thursday, Oct. 11 concerning the residency of the county Republican Party’s nomination for the open fifth county commission seat.

Justin LaNasa, a Wilmington resident, challenged the right of Gott to remain registered one day before the deadline for such a challenge on Friday, Oct. 12.

Elections director Marvin McFadyen said the process would be short.

The board already had a meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 16, at 5 p.m. for action on absentee ballots. The preliminary hearing will also take place on that date.

LaNasa is required to show the burden of proof that Gott is not a resident of the county, municipality or precinct in which she is registered.

If the board finds probable cause during the preliminary hearing, a full hearing will be scheduled. At that time, Gott would present formal evidence and testimony of her residency.

“As a board, we don’t try to pull any information forward,” McFadyen said on Friday, Oct. 12. “It’s basically my board becomes the courts.”

If the challenge were sustained, Gott would be removed from the voter registration for the county. But, McFadyen said, he has seen what has been turned into the county.

“It seems like there is a lot of evidence that supports her claim … the fact that she has been voting here for almost 10 years.”

Chairman Jonathan Barfield said he is ready to move forward and for staff to focus on the tasks at hand.

Only three board members will be present at Monday’s regular commissioners meeting with vice chairman Jason Thompson recovering from surgery and one seat vacant. An appointment to fill the seat is not on Monday’s agenda.

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