LAURINBURG — The monthly meeting for the Scotland County Board of Elections brought up a question of why taxpayers are paying the millage of the board to precincts.
The board attended state training at the beginning of the month and attended different seminars and speakers talking about different topics.
Board member William Purcell questioned the board about the mileage forms that they submit and are reimbursed for going to precinct stations after the chief attorney for the State Board of Elections spoke about board members not attending.
“If that’s true, how do we justify asking the taxpayers of Scotland County to pay us for doing something that the chief attorney for the Board of Elections said we shouldn’t be doing?” Purcell asked. “How do you decide which of his recommendations you don’t agree with?”
Current board Chair Hal Culberson disagreed with the issue because, in Scotland County, the board members aren’t going to the precincts and taking them over, which was what the chief attorney was referring to. He did say they would check with Board of Elections Director Dell Parker, who was on vacation at the time of the meeting.
“One reason is that they will know who we are and if they do have a question or a situation they know who to call and they know we will respond because they’ve met us and been around,” Culberson said. “We do not go in to take over for anybody we are there to help but we have always had the practice of visiting precincts.”
Walter Rodgers, who is a chair of Precinct Nine, was in attendance and added some input into the discussion.
“I think it’s a good thing you’re doing,” Rodgers said. “I’ve been out there for a bunch of years and I’ve seen situations where I couldn’t get an answer and I ended up having to call Raleigh — and then Raleigh called here. So by you being out there, people know you’re there and with them having the confidence in you and what your response is it helps the situation.”
Another topic brought up by Purcell was that of electioneers who are hired by candidates to stand outside the polling stations. Purcell explained “all the yelling and such that they do” he’s heard that some people don’t think it’s a healthy situation and that some candidates are concerned about spending campaign money on them.
“It’s a personal choice between the candidate and the individual,” Culberson explained. “It’s a contract that they have and the board of elections is not a part of.”
Rodgers also said the electioneers also cause issues at certain precincts like John’s Station or Laurel Hill because the bathrooms are inside the voting area, which means that the public cannot use them.
Laurel Hill, which is Precinct Nine, is fixing the issue of the bathrooms by moving to another area in the Laurel Hill Community Center.
The Board is working on moving Precinct Eight for the same reason and Elections Assistant Chassidy Brewer said she would look into the John’s Station issue.
Reach Katelin Gandee at 910-506-3171 or at [email protected]