News: Quick Takes

Wake school board filing opens Thursday

All nine seats up for re-election in November; county commission District 4, 5, and 6 candidates from earlier this year remain on ballot

The filing period for all nine Wake County school board seats opens at noon Thursday and ends at noon Wednesday, Aug. 17.

The State Board of Elections approved the filing period during an emergency meeting on Wednesday held by teleconference.

The meeting was called after Gary Sims, director of elections for Wake County, earlier that day hand-delivered a letter to Kim Westbrook Strach, executive director of the State Board of Elections, requesting the filing period approval.

In the letter, Sims noted that the Wake County Board of Elections would carry out an order by Chief U.S. District Court Judge James Dever, who scheduled elections for both the school board and three county commissioner districts on Nov. 8.

Dever’s order implemented a mandate from the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which declared school board districts established in 2013 and identical county commissioner districts established in 2015 by the General Assembly unconstitutional.

“To comply with the order, the Wake County Board of Elections requests that the State Board of Elections take immediate action that will enable us to stay on schedule in order to have orderly elections on Nov. 8, 2016,” Sims says in his letter.

On Tuesday, Dever ordered the county board to use districts put in place in 2011 for the 2016 elections. Terms for the nine members elected in the single-member school board races would last two years, as would terms for county commissioners elected in Districts 4, 5, and 6, the order said.

No new filing period will be needed for the three county commissioner seats since those districts didn’t change as a part of Dever’s ruling. Candidates who were on the ballot for Districts 4, 5, and 6 before the 4th Circuit’s decision was issued will remain on the Nov. 8 ballot. However, elections will not be held for the two A and B “super districts” that were created as a part of the redistricting plan that was declared unconstitutional.