Local News

Address Dispute May Cost Councilman His Job

Posted November 13, 2006

— Questions about a Rocky Mount council member's his address could cost him his seat and his right to vote. But some argue it's not about where the candidate lives, but the color of his skin that's caused problems.

Last month the Edgecombe County Board of Elections revoked Rocky Mount councilman Andre Knight 's voter registration, a decision Knight immediately appealed. A judge's order has allowed Knight to keep his council seat and continue voting for now.

The debate is centered on the home that Knight claims is his permanent residence. Rev. Roosevelt Higgs said Knight doesn't live there and brought the challenge to the Board of Elections.

"Mr. Knight does not live in Edgecombe County," Higgs said by telephone to WRAL. "I reported it because my interest is in protecting the integrity of the electoral process."

William Hobbs is a member of the community action committee that supports Knight.

" He does live there and he has lived there for some time," Hobbs said. "In fact, when I first heard about a challenge I though it was a joke."

Hobbs said the Board of Elections didn't have proper evidence to make its decision, and said he believes there is something more sinister involved.

"What is happening with Mr. Knight is partially part of the movement to get rid of the black majority on the City Council, and Mr. Higgs played right into their hands," Hobbs said.

Knight owns two other homes. Supporters said that Knight hopes to use one for a future business, and another is where his family runs an adult care facility. Hobbs said the councilman often works nights at that residence, but a third house in Rocky Mount is his home.

Knight's attorney advised him not to comment. He was allowed to cast a provisional ballot in last week's election. Hiss sealed ballot is being held at the Board of Elections, pending the judge's final ruling.

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