Municipal elections will proceed as scheduled in Swansboro this year, despite a delay in the reporting of Census 2020 information.
Swansboro’s election format is not affected by data in the census, according to information from the N.C. State Board of Elections website, as provided by Jason Dedmond, Onslow County Board of Elections director.
Census information was delayed due to a couple of factors, according to published reports, including issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Jacksonville, according to the state board, will delay its municipal elections. The city council is elected based on wards, and the wards must be updated based on census data.
Despite the issues facing its county neighbor, Swansboro’s elections are apparently moving along smoothly.
“I don’t know about confusion,” Dedmond said in an email. “We haven’t received calls regarding it.”
Terms will end for three commissioners and the mayor this year. So four seats will be decided in November.
Mayor John Davis will complete his term in December.
Commissioner Pat Turner is at the end of her four-year term and Commissioners Laurent Meilleur and Larry Philpott are at the end of their two-year terms.
Commissioners P.J. Pugliese and Frank Tursi are in the midst of their four-year terms.
Candidate filing in Onslow County began at noon on Tuesday, July 6, and will end at noon on Friday, July 16. Filing opened statewide on Friday, July 2, but Onslow County took off that day, and Monday, July 5, for the July 4th holiday. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 2, according to the N.C. State Board of Elections website.
While he did not say when he planned to file, Philpott said it is his intention to seek re-election. Davis said he also plans to run. Meilleur said he is still considering his options.
Turner did not respond to a request from the Tideland to share her plans for the upcoming election.
The Onslow County Board of Elections office is at 246 Georgetown Road in Jacksonville. The office is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. The phone number is (910) 455-4484.
Swansboro residents who wish to vote in the municipal election must be registered to vote. Citizens 18 and older as of Election Day may register to vote in person at the Elections Office, the Department of Motor Vehicles or any Onslow County Public Library. You may also register by mail, according to the county board’s website.
According to the site, a voter registration form can be found on the North Carolina State Board of Elections website. You may also pick one up at any library, town hall or the board of elections office.
“Your Onslow County voter registration will permit you to vote in national, state and county elections,” it states.
Registration closes 25 days before each election. Persons who are not registered in the county may register to vote during the one-stop early voting period. This process is called “Same-Day Registration.”
Political parties recognized in North Carolina include Constitution, Democratic, Green, Libertarian and Republican.
“If you register with no party, you will be listed as Unaffiliated,” according to the county website. “During a primary you must vote with your party. If you are registered unaffiliated, you must designate which ballot you would like to vote (Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, Constitutional, Green or Nonpartisan).”
According to the state board of elections:
• Filing for municipal offices is at county board of elections offices.
• Candidates must be 21 years old on Election Day.
• Candidates must be registered voters of the municipality at the time they file for office. If they are not already registered to vote, they can register at the same time they file their notice of candidacy.
• For an office that is elected by district or ward, the candidate must reside within the district or ward.
• Candidates must file a notice of candidacy with the county board of elections office in the county of their residence and pay a filing fee set by the municipal governing board during the filing period. The minimum is $5 with a maximum of 1 percent of the annual salary of the office sought.
• For partisan elections, a candidate must be affiliated with the same political party in which he or she intends to file for at least 90 days prior to the date the candidate files.
• A person whose name appeared on the ballot in a primary election is not eligible to have their name placed on the regular municipal election ballot as an unaffiliated candidate for the same office in that year.
• The notice of candidacy includes a question about any previous felony convictions and will require disclosure of any convictions.
• A candidate may not file for more than one office in the same election.
Not all of these provisions apply to Swansboro, which employs a nonpartisan plurality method of elections.
According to the state board website, nonpartisan plurality is the most common municipal election method.
“All candidates for a position are listed on the ballot, without party affiliation,” according to the state board. “The top vote-getters are elected, regardless of whether or not they received a majority of votes cast.”
In Swansboro, the terms of the five commissioners are staggered, so three commissioners are elected each elections cycle.
The top two vote-getters are elected to four-year terms and the third-place finisher is elected to a two-year term. This format allows the citizens to elect a voting majority every two years.
This year’s election in Swansboro is unusual in one way in that Philpott was elected to complete two years of a four-year term, open due to the resignation of Commissioner Angela Clinton soon after she took office in 2017.
“The general election is held in November and there is no primary,” according to the state website.
Email Jimmy Williams at email@example.com.