Local Politics

State orders new election in Benson

Posted January 15, 2016

— The State Board of Elections voted unanimously Friday to order a new election for a seat on the Benson Board of Commissioners.

Commissioner John Bonner defeated challenger Dean McLamb by seven votes for the District 2 seat on Nov. 3, but McLamb challenged the results after discovering that dozens of voters had received the wrong ballots.

McLamb and his wife figured out that Benson's maps don't match the maps Johnston County officials used to assign voters to districts.

County elections director Leigh Anne Price said she found 37 miscast votes in the District 2 race: 25 voters should have received a District 2 ballot but didn't, while the other 12 received a District 2 ballot but shouldn't have.

Officials haven't figured out how the maps became mismatched. Benson changed its maps in 2008, and town officials said they sent the new maps to the county. But the Johnston County Board of Elections has no record of those changes.

Bonner agreed with the state board's ruling, but he disputed the number of miscast votes, saying 14 of the 37 were legitimate. Still, he said, the number remains higher than the seven-vote advantage he held over McLamb.

State officials said the new election would be held on March 15 along with primaries.

Meanwhile, Johnston County elections officials are working to make sure all of their maps are correct before voters head to the polls in March.

"I'll be double-checking, I'll just put it like that," McLamb said. "Not too long, I'll be going door to door, knocking on doors again."


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