Fliers Land Warren County PAC In Hot Water
Posted April 26, 2006 8:55 a.m. EDT
WARRENTON, N.C. — There are political campaign signs on almost every street corner in Warren County.
Despite the heated campaigns, there is a lawsuit challenging the fairness of the campaign by the county's largest lobbying group, the Warren County Political Action Committee, or PAC. Started by Frank Ballance, the PAC's influence among Democratic voters has played a key role in elections for more than 10 years.
"Distributing ballots or facsimile of ballots that were not in compliance with state law should not have been allowed," said Warren County Commissioner Luke Lucas.
Last week, the Warren County Political Action Committee introduced a flier that reprinted a sample ballot for the county's May 2 Democratic Primary, calling it the official primary ballot. They were nothing more than campaign fliers with the names of some candidates excluded. However, the State Board of Elections ruled the flier illegal, because the PAC endorsement paperwork suggested that it was the official primary ballot.
Judge Robert Hobgood ordered the fliers stopped after hearing from Lucas that the fliers may have influenced some early voters.
"What good is your vote if it's not a fair election," said Lucas.
At least six candidates have complained to the local elections board. The Warren County Political Action Committee claims those candidates are just fighting back because the PAC does not endorse them.
"It seems like to me they may be floundering," said PAC spokesperson Larry Spruill. "Evidently, they may not be doing so well politically here in the county in order to be raising this much of a stink."
The PAC has since tried to revise its endorsement flier to make it legal.
"We certainly don't want to taint the voting effort here in Warren County," said Spruill.
The judge's order still forbids the PAC from handing out fliers. They plan to ask a judge to lift his restraining order in a special hearing set for Saturday.