Changes coming with Board of Elections

Jul. 16, 2013 @ 05:10 AM

For the first time since the 1980s the Rutherford County Board of Elections will have changes.

Today, three new members will be sworn in at the Board of Elections office in Spindale.

Another first is there will be a new party in control of the Board as well as precincts.

Debbie Bedford, county director of elections, said the change is due to a shift in the governor’s office in Raleigh. Election boards are comprised of two members of the governor’s party and one from the opposition party meaning there will be two Republicans and one Democrat serving on the board as well as precinct judges.

“It will change a lot of my workers and I’ll have to recruit new members,” Bedford said Monday.

Republicans Brian King and Gail Parton will be sworn in today along with Democrat Margaret Helton as the new Board of Elections. They will each serve a two-year term on the board.

“The last board had been on for years and years,” Bedford said.

They are replacing Democrats Sybile Scruggs and Franklin Head as well as Republican Vivian Sitton.

The Board of Elections serves to supervise the election functions of the county and hold hearings regarding voter registration challenges and election protests.

“I have no idea how things will change until they get in here and interact. Then I can see what their plans are,” Bedford said.

She said she already made contact with new members and has put together information they will need once they start.

“I look forward to working with them all,” Bedford said.

As for precinct judges, Bedford said there will be changes but she doesn’t know what that will be until judges are appointed in August. She said there are some precincts that currently work under two Republicans and one Democrat — as agreed upon by both parties.

“It may not change all the workers but it does have the potential to change a lot of the precinct judges,” Bedford said.

All new precinct judges will have to be trained prior to the next election.

“It will mean a lot of work on our part to get people trained and ready to go,” Bedford said.

Not all precincts will have election work in November, during municipal elections. All precincts will have elections in May 2014.

“It will give us a little more time,” Bedford said.

Filing deadline for the November municipal elections is at noon Friday.