On November 15, Mr. Christopher Smith, candidate for Marvin Mayor, filed an election protest with the Union County Board of Elections. The petition calls for a new election to be held in Marvin. The UC Board of Elections held their preliminary hearing last Tuesday at 4:00 p.m.Below is an overview of that meeting.
THE NOVEMBER 19TH UNION COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTION MEETING
A. Preliminary Hearing for Marvin Election Protest
(Submission by Chris Smith)
1. Marvin Resident Attendance
The meeting was attended by (at least) the following Marvin residents:
Candidates for Mayor
Mr. Chris Smith (and his attorney)
Mr. Joe Pollino
Candidates for Council
Mr. Jamie Lien (and his attorney)
Mr. Bob Marcolese
Planning Board Members
Mr. Michael Lavelle
Mr. John Jones
Ms. Ann Jones (Mr. Jones' spouse)
Current Members of Marvin Council
Ms. Kim Vandenberg
2. UC BOE's Receptivity
According to witnesses, the Chairman of the Board seemed intent to see the allegations investigated. At one point, one BOE member seemed to argue the protest contained allegations mostly pertaining to campaign finance violations. The insinuation being that allegations wholly of that nature, were not within the County’s jurisdiction. The Chairman highlighted the statutes Mr. Chris Smith cited within his complaint and noted none of the statutory violations were campaign finance violations. In short, by the end of the meeting, all members of the board resolved the allegations needed to be heard. See the following bullet points and determinations.
3. UCBOE’s Preliminary Determination of Probable Cause
☙ The UC Board of Elections unanimously determined there was probable cause to hold a full hearing with regard to Chris Smith’s protest.
The Board of Elections voted unanimously to hold a formal hearing on Monday, December 2, 2019 at 10:00 a.m.
☙ We typically expect newly elected officials to be sworn into public office during Marvin’s “Organizational Meeting”; which is scheduled for December 10, this year.
☙ The UCBOE considered this variable and worked to arrange a formal hearing date, which would take place before Marvin’s ‘Organizational Meeting’.
☙ The Board and other parties can call witnesses to give testimony.
☙ Relevant witnesses may also be subpoenaed, to ensure they attend and answer questions.
Marvin Village News hopes citizens will attend and
show support for good government on December 2nd - 10 a.m.!
UNION COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS MEETING
This Monday, December 2, 2019 - 10:00 a.m.
Board of Commissioner’s Board Room
1st Floor, Union County Government Center
500 North Main Street, Monroe, NC 28112
VILLAGE OF MARVIN
ELECTION PROTEST HEARING
The subject of this special meeting is a protest hearing for the
Mayor and Council contests for the Village of Marvin Election.
The Board may take such actions related to these matters
as the Board deems appropriate, and as per State law provided.
The Board and protester may call witnesses to provide testimony.
Subpoenas may be issued to ensure key witnesses attend.
Board of Elections - Preliminary Hearing for 2nd Marvin Election Protest
B. Ms. Mary Shkut Marvin Election Petition
☙ On Monday, November 18, Mary Shkut also filed Protest with the Board of Elections
☙ The Board of Elections held a preliminary hearing for Monday, November 25, at 4 pm.
☙ The complaint concerns the non-uniform understanding and application of rules
☙ Primarily, the complaint concerns the dissemination of misinformation which had the effect of suppressing voter enthusiasm and voter turnout.
☙ In this particular case, the dissemination of the non-uniform policy or the misinformation had a notable impact on the outcome of the Marvin mayoral election; especially given that only 20 votes separates the final vote count for each of the mayoral candidates.
☙ In short, the Board of Elections relayed that write-in candidates needed to register in order for their votes to count. Evidence of those instructions was recorded for self-protection.
☙ The rule was applied to and followed by Shkut, as a write-in candidate.
☙ The Board of Election policy was also shared among pro-Smith campaigners and voters.
☙ On November 4, 2019, at 4:55 p.m. campaigners called the Board of Election and were informed Mayor Pollino had not registered his write-in candidacy with the Count
☙ The information had the effect of suppressing campaign efforts and even voter turnout.
☙ Voters and campaigners later relayed they had either not voted, nor campaigned as vigorously because they believed Mayor Pollino's votes would not count and could have no effect on the mayoral election either way.
☙ Despite the information provided by the County, Mayor Pollino's write-in votes were counted without delay causing upset.
☙ Given Mary Shkut's role in disseminating the information and the narrow margin separating the candidates, she felt she had an obligation to present the issue to the Board for consideration.
☙ The Board ultimately determined that voters had opportunity to check the laws and therefore ignorance of the law could not used as a factor.
☙ When asked how she felt about the outcome. Ms. Shkut said she was satisfied with the outcome. She said reiterated that she felt an obligation to present the information. She hopes the Board will do what they can to prevent misinformation in the future and she's grateful that they took the time to hear the complaint.