Making a crazy situation even crazier:
Right now, Bladen County has no board of elections. Earlier this month, the new state board declined to appoint a new county board of elections until the investigation was over. NCSBE spokesperson Patrick Gannon said the board will appoint a new county board at a future meeting but a date for that meeting has not been set.
NCSBE members agreed at the hearing in Raleigh that in light of the information revealed during the testimony, additional oversight is needed of the upcoming special elections in Bladen County. “State board members agreed at the evidentiary hearing that the agency should look closely at the operations and oversight of the Bladen County Board of Elections, given the recent developments,” Gannon said.
Unfortunately, this article is over 3 weeks old, but a teaser of a story buried behind a paywall (that I refuse to pay because I'm already paying that company) reveals the Board is still not empaneled, and the NC GOP has refused to put any (replacement) Republican names forward to fill those seats. Absentee ballots for the Primary will (very soon) have to be sent out, and there's more than just a Congressional special election to be considered:
While the state will be overseeing the election in some form, it will still be up to Bladen County officials to make it happen — and to foot the bill.
Bladen County manager Greg Martin said the state hasn’t provided him with the details, so there isn’t a cost estimate yet. However, Martin said the expense of running an unanticipated election will go beyond what the county has budgeted, and more funds will need to be appropriated.
The 2018-2019 budget for the elections department is just over $355,000.
Each fiscal year the county sees either a primary election or a general election, plus local municipal elections during odd years. The county budgets between $50,000 and $70,000 per year for operating expenses, and around $90,000 for contract labor, which includes polling place employees.
Martin said because the Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor race is county-wide, all polling places will have to be open on Election Day, even if they aren’t in the 9th congressional district or the affected county commission district.
And of course considering the Bladen County Commissioners are probably still angry their efforts to prop up Mark Harris failed, squeezing more money out of them to pay for an election they didn't want is going to be a challenge, to put it mildly.
Not only does the State Board need to monitor Bladen's election operations coming up, they need to be there right effing now to ensure it doesn't turn into another fiasco.