With this year’s Nov. 6, election just around the corner, the death of Sen. Don East leaves a void on the county’s GOP ticket, and many may be wondering how the longtime Senator will be replaced.
According to county Board of Elections Director Susan Jarrell, filling the vacancy on the ticket will be up to the Republican Executive Committee of the 30th District.
“Since this is a multi-county district, the recommendation for the appointment to replace (East) will be made by the Republican Executive Committee for the district,” she said.
Members of the committee will present a nomination for East’s replacement to Governor Beverly Perdue, who will have seven days to make the appointment after receiving the Committee’s recommendation.
N.C. Statute 163-11 reads that: “If a vacancy shall occur in the General Assembly by death, resignation, or otherwise than by expiration of term, the Governor shall immediately appoint for the unexpired part of the term the person recommended by the political party executive committee provided by this section. The Governor shall make the appointment within seven days of receiving the recommendation of the appropriate committee. If the Governor fails to make the appointment within the required period, he shall be presumed to have made the appointment and the legislative body to which the appointee was recommended is directed to seat the appointee as a member in good standing for the duration of the unexpired term.”
But Jarrell said that while the governor has a concrete time frame, she isn’t sure how long the Executive Committee has to make the recommendation.
“I haven’t seen anything that gives a time frame in the statutes,” she said.
And with many absentee ballots already flowing into the elections office, Jarrell said those votes cast for East will count as a vote for the committee’s nominee.
“We’ve already received over 3,000 ballots cast through either absentee voting or early voting, and those votes cast for Mr. East will be considered votes for the person who receives the appointment from the Executive Committee,” she said.
Reach Keith Strange at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1929.