Election Board Postpones Primary Protest Hearing

SMITHFIELD – The Johnston County Board of Elections has postponed a formal hearing on the District 1 race for the Johnston County Board of Commissioners until next month.

Johnny Hill had filed an election protest following the March 2020 Republican commissioner primary in the race between Michelle Pace Davis and Fred Smith.  A preliminary hearing was held on June 11th and the local election board voted unanimously to move forward with a formal hearing on June 24th.

However, the June 24th hearing was postponed until July 14th at 10:00AM according to Elections Director Leigh Anne Price.  Price said two of the five board members had health-related issues yesterday and could not attend the meeting.  The remaining board members agreed to postpone the formal hearing until next month until everyone could attend.

Mr. Hill’s complaint contends a “fake voter guide” was used to sway votes away from Michelle Pace Davis to her opponent.  The guide closely resembled Johnston County GOP voter guides that are handed out each year at the polls.  A total of 19,172 votes were cast in the District 1 primary on March 3rd.  Mrs. Davis lost the primary to Mr. Smith by only 52 votes.

If the county election board rules in favor of Mr. Hill on July 14th, the complaint will be forwarded to the NC Board of Elections in Raleigh.  State election officials will then decide if the voter guide controversy is enough to call for a new primary election.