One day before Johnston County voters will decide on a number of races during the Tuesday primary, the campaign for a Johnston County Board of Education candidate says all the votes at one early voting site should be tossed out.
Bruce Hamrick, the husband of school board candidate Summer Hamrick, believes a precinct worker may have violated state law last week.
On March 7th, the precinct worker is alleged to have encouraged voters to cast a ballot in the Board of Education race for candidate Todd Sutton of Kenly. Johnston County Board of Elections Director Leigh Ann Price confirmed complaints were received about the poll worker and after calling in the worker to discuss the complaints the following day, March 8th, the worker voluntarily resigned.
Price said employees of the Board of Elections are not allowed to publicly endorse any candidate and must remain impartial. “Political activity by an employee of the Board of Elections is not allowed,” Price told WTSB.
Mr. Hamrick says when the employee publicly endorsed Todd Sutton, the employee violated state law. After resigning, Mr. Hamrick alleges the employee started a “smear campaign” by posting negative comments about his wife on social media sites. The Hamrick’s have reportedly hired an attorney, who has sent a letter to the ex-employee asking him to stop posting negative comments.
Local law enforcement has also been notified, Mr. Hamrick said, to investigate if any criminal laws may have been broken.
Hammrick believes the poll workers actions of publicly endorsing another candidate at a voting precinct are enough to have all the votes for school board candidates at the precinct tossed out.
Todd Sutton told WTSB News on Monday, “My campaign never solicited the endorsement of any Board of Elections officials nor any other elected officials and wishes to remain focused on the primary and my key points that surround Johnston County Schools.”
The name of the precinct worker involved in the alleged incident has not been released.
WTSB News contacted the Johnston County Board of Elections on Monday about the allegations. Officials said they had not been formally notified of any voter tampering complaint and had no further comment.