Voting Change, Be Careful what You ask for, You may get it | Eastern North Carolina Now | A bill is now in the North Carolina Senate Rules Committee to provide a method to change the way Beaufort County elects commissioners.

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    A bill is now in the North Carolina Senate Rules Committee to provide a method to change the way Beaufort County elects commissioners. The bill has passed by the House of Representatives. The bill requires a referendum if 15 percent of the voters petition for a change. This all sounds good until you read the fine print. There are two huge problems. One has to do with the petition, the method of change must be stated in the petition. The second is the federal lawsuit that got us limited voting during the early 1990's.

    There are several opinions about how the new voting method could work. Do we vote in districts, and if so, where will the districts be located? Setting up minority districts would be a problem because the Supreme Court recently ruled that we cannot use race as the sole definition of a district. Some believe we should elect the chairman and Vice Chairman at large. How are minority (white) voters going to feel in the majority black districts, if we can even have majority black districts? Majority black districts would have to be around the City of Washington and either Aurora or Belhaven or some combination between Aurora and Belhaven.

    Will voters be able to vote for more commissioners with the new system? Now voters vote for two commissioners during the 4 year election cycle. Under one proposal voters in the single district outside the two black districts would vote for five commissioners during a voting cycle while voters in the black district would get to vote for only one commissioner during a voting cycle. Or maybe voters in the black districts would also participate in the county wide elections which would allow them to vote for seven commissioners during a voting cycle. See how quickly this thing gets to be very, very complicated. Voters tend not to approve complicated voting systems.

    Then there is the Federal court situation. Some argue that court decisions made during the past few years did away with the Federal laws that enabled the Federal Court order on limited voting we are now under. This is not clear by any means. The last sentence of the court order that put us into limited voting says "The court retains jurisdiction of this matter"(sic). Even if there is no active law backing the existing court order, one cannot proceed without approaching the court and asking whether or not the law still applies. That is to say, a federal court ruling is required even if there is no law. This is why the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously not to support the Legislature's changes if we are on the hook for any Federal legal expenses.

    Supporters of the law now in the Senate Rules Committee have not been willing to agree to elect the Chairman and Vice Chairman at large nor to guarantee that any new system will provide voters with the ability to vote for more than two commissioners during the election cycle or any other invented election scheme.

    I am not opposed to real changes in the way we elect commissioners provided voters can vote for mores than two during an election cycle. I support no system that does not provide for electing the chairman and vice chairman at large. Limited voting has provided a corrupt system in which two Democrats make deals with two RINOs (Republican In Name Only) to decide which Republican will

    be chairman. They This is a corruption within the Republican Party which results in liberal Democrats running county government when there are five republican sitting on the Commission.

    Be careful what you ask for. A new system could be worse than the one we have. Rest assured, if this new law is passed, the master manipulators will swing into action the moment they can figure how to rig the system for an advantage. It is a shame Democrats have been able to get liberals elected as republicans ("RINOs) in order to scam the limited voting system.

    Finally, every person is a citizen of Beaufort County and should have equal rights regardless of race creed or color.. I am uncomfortable addressing this situation based solely on race. Constitutional principles should be what we are addressing and not race.
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