Beaufort elections board member removed from office

Posted December 20, 2013

U.S. Senate candidate (2014) Dr. Greg Brannon, a Cary Republican

— The State Board of Elections on Friday removed a member of the Beaufort County Board of Elections for participating in partisan political activities.

Delma Blinson, who was appointed to the Beaufort board this summer, participated in a local tea party meeting in October. During that meeting, he made a motion that passed to endorse Greg Brannon, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate.

The state board sets major policy for state elections and oversees the operations of local boards. Local boards have the job of actually running elections. This summer, state board leaders warned new members of local boards that they must abstain from political activity in order to preserve their objectivity.

"You were on notice that we were going to aggressively enforce this statute," said Josh Howard, chairman of the state board.

Blinson acknowledged that he had participated in the tea party meeting, but he said he did not think it violated the law, which prohibits "public" displays of political opinion.

"I would say anyone in public office ... has a right to private conversations," he said.

But board members pointed out that the tea party meeting time and location was advertised to the public. The activity at the meeting -- making an endorsement -- was a process in which one's political opinions are made known.

"If 20 people at a political rally isn't public, what is?" Howard asked.

The board voted 5-0 to remove Blinson and asked the local Republican Party to recommend a replacement.


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  • soapbox Dec 23, 2013

    http://dailyhaymaker.com/?p=6756 - seaweaver1

    Blinson's argument doesn't hold water.

    "The board pretends that election officials don’t have political preferences. The essence of their position is that there will be no perception of bias if election officials simply HIDE their positions."

    Of course election officials have political preferences. But anyone who attains that position should be ethical enough to set aside their personal preferences for the sake of upholding the law and applying it equally across the board.

    Just as lawyers, juries, DA's, and judges are supposed to do. If a judge or DA is "directly and personally involved in the case," as in Blinson's analogy, they are expected to recuse themselves. If they don't, they risk having their ruling overturned on appeal.

    Juries are instructed by the judge on the rules of law and are bound to set aside personal feelings and decide based on those rules.

    Actions do speak louder than words. Delma just doesn't seem to get that

  • seaweaver1 Dec 23, 2013


  • seaweaver1 Dec 23, 2013

    "The State Board of Elections is running a sham as far as elections integrity is concerned. Every reasonably informed person who knows anything about elections administration knows two things: Those who oversee elections are political appointees—they get that position as a result of their political activities and virtually every one of them continues their political activity after being appointed in that they favor some candidates and disfavor others. That is simply the reality of the situation and everyone with knowledge of the system knows this.
    The law dealing with this is clear. Elections officials may not “make written or oral statements for general distribution or dissemination to the public at large supporting or opposing the nomination of one or more clearly identified candidates for public office…” but they may do so as an “individual expression of opinion, support or opposition not intended for general public distribution…” That’s pretty straight-forward. "

  • lwe1967 Dec 21, 2013

    She broke the law and it doesn't matter if she was a republican or a democrat. She broke the law and has been disciplined and removed.

  • highrocklaker Dec 21, 2013

    Finally some accountability for these pious politicians representing the majority, not minority Tea Party fanatics. The Tea Party has single handily caused more damage to the system than any other in history.

  • soapbox Dec 20, 2013

    From the article: "Blinson acknowledged that he had participated in the tea party meeting, but he said he did not think it violated the law, which prohibits "public" displays of political opinion."

    *sigh* Some of these people just don't seem to get basic concepts like "objectivity," and "the common good," and "the law applies to everyone, not everyone EXCEPT FOR YOU"!