The process by which a replacement for the late Sen. Don East’s seat in the North Carolina Senate has become more clear, thanks to a memo to the chairpersons of the three counties involved in the replacement from North Carolina Republican Party Chair Robin Hayes.
The memorandum, dated Oct. 30, lays out in detail how the process will go when the Executive Committee of the 30th Senatorial District meets at 3 p.m. Sunday at Surry County Republican Headquarters on South Street in Mount Airy.
The meeting, and nomination process, will follow both North Carolina’s General Statutes and the party’s State Plan of Organization, according to Hayes.
“… the county executive members residing within the newly-drawn Senate District 30 of Stokes, Surry and Wilkes counties are responsible for meeting to elect the ballot replacement of Senate District 30 Republican nominee Don East.
“Due to the unexpected and unfortunate circumstances that led to the necessity for the East Ballot Replacement Election just days before the election, good cause exists… for the notice of this meeting to be mailed to the applicable executive committee members five days prior to the meeting.”
The memo itself serves as notice, Hayes said.
Since East’s district consists of more than one county, the vote of the county’s four officers and executive committee members chosen during the county’s Republican Convention will be weighted based on the number of registered Republican voters in each county.
As a result, Surry County, with 17,768 registered Republicans, will have nine votes, representing 32 percent of the total vote.
Stokes County, with 14,718 registered Republicans, will have 46 executive committee members voting, representing 27 percent of the vote.
Wilkes County, with 21,740 registered Republicans, will have 10 voting members representing 40 percent of the vote.
Several rules will govern the process, Hayes said, including:
• Executive committee members who are eligible to vote may offer nominees from the floor. A two-minute nomination speech will be permitted. Nominated candidates will be permitted to address the voting members for up to four minutes.
• Voting will take place by secret ballot, but each county’s ballots will be color-coded. Voting members must be present to cast a vote for a nominee.
• Election of East’s replacement will be conducted by majority of the weighted votes. In the event that a majority is not received by any candidate, the candidate with the lowest weighted percentage of the votes will be removed from the ballot and another vote will be held.
• Observers and special guests will be required to remain in designated seating and not participate in the process.
• The vote and meeting will be conducted according to Roberts Rules of Order.
If the nominee already holds public office, a second vote will take place to fill that office.
Reach Keith Strange at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1929.