By Leah Dearborn
KINSTON, N.C.- On Monday, it was announced that all three current elections board members of Lenoir Ct.— one of the most politically polarized counties in the country— will be resigning. Board Chairwoman Sharon Kanter and member Kim Allison have vacated their seats in protest of Executive Director, Gary Bartlett’s decision not to fire Board Director, Dana King (the final member is resigning for unrelated, personal reasons).
King has been accused by the Democratic board members of mismanagement, including budgeting issues and complaints that voting sites in the county were not opened on time.
Bartlett wrote in a letter explaining his choice to put King on probation, rather than fire her:
“Both the Petition and Ms. King mount serious allegations. Unfortunately, the documents I have received also reflect poorly on all involved, and uncover some highly discouraging ineptitude in how business has been handled within Lenoir County Board of Elections.”
Bartlett also sites “unchecked personality conflicts, vindictive distortions, and a lack of trust” amongst the Lenoir Elections Board as a main source of the turmoil.
In February, Lenoir County was named the 8th most politically divided county in the U.S. by Bloomberg News. During the 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney won the county by only 32 votes; still a wider margin than McCain’s victory of 23 votes in 2008.