Sharpsburg Mayoral Race Draws Attention

The ongoing battle over the results of October’s election for Sharpsburg Mayor, a race decided by only 4 votes, is starting to draw interest with respect to the appeal efforts of the losing candidate.

Current Mayor Robert Williams, Jr., who currently trails challenger Randy Weaver by a count of 202-198, protested the results on the basis that one of the voters was not living at the address where they were registered.

Angela Hight provided an overview of Williams’ protest, along with a summary of its recent review and denial by the Nash County Board of Elections, in a story for Raleigh’s Civitas Institute:

Williams was appointed mayor of the town in July 2013 and had already requested a recount of the election because the race was so close. The election was held on Oct. 8 and Randy Weaver, the challenger, won with a vote of 202-198. The recount yielded the same results.

Friday morning all involved parties met at the Nash County Agricultural Center Auditorium which houses the Nash County Board of Elections. Williams presented his case in which he said that one individual was not eligible to vote in the election because he did not live at the address where he was registered to vote.  The voter had lived in a trailer at the address but it had been repossessed right before the election.  The voter admitted that he had fallen on hard times but that he still had valuables on the property, he was up to date on lot rent, his driver’s license showed that this was his residence, he slept in a tent on the property some nights and has every intention to put a trailer on the property when he saves up enough money.

The voter in question presented several pieces of evidence to prove that he still lived at the residence in question.  After the Board heard the testimony from the voter in question and others who were called to support him, they dismissed Williams’ protest unanimously and said the written order would be available in the days to follow.  The board referred to several similar cases in coming to their decision to dismiss this case.  A domicile is considered a person’s residence.  One important thing to note is  to legally change a domicile, there must be an actual abandonment of the first domicile with the intent not to return to it, and the acquisition of a new domicile by actual residence at another place with the intent to make that new place a permanent home. Owens v. Chaplin 228 NC 705, 47 SE2d 12 (1948).

Williams did say, after the Board gave their decision, that he would be filing for an appeal at the State Board of Elections (SBOE).  The Election cannot be officially declared until that appeal has been decided on by the SBOE.  There will follow up to this blog when they have given their ruling on the matter.