A challenge was formally submitted to the New Hanover County
Board of Elections on Thursday, Oct. 11 concerning the residency of the county
Republican Party’s nomination for the open fifth county commission seat.
Justin LaNasa, a Wilmington resident, challenged the right
of Gott to remain registered one day before the deadline for such a challenge
on Friday, Oct. 12.
Elections director Marvin McFadyen said the process would be
The board already had a meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Oct.
16, at 5 p.m. for action on absentee ballots. The preliminary hearing will also
take place on that date.
LaNasa is required to show the burden of proof that Gott is
not a resident of the county, municipality or precinct in which she is
If the board finds probable cause during the preliminary
hearing, a full hearing will be scheduled. At that time, Gott would present
formal evidence and testimony of her residency.
“As a board, we don’t try to pull any information forward,”
McFadyen said on Friday, Oct. 12. “It’s basically my board becomes the courts.”
If the challenge were sustained, Gott would be removed from
the voter registration for the county. But, McFadyen said, he has seen what has
been turned into the county.
“It seems like there is a lot of evidence that supports her
claim … the fact that she has been voting here for almost 10 years.”
Chairman Jonathan Barfield said he is
ready to move forward and for staff to focus on the tasks at hand.
Only three board members will be present at Monday’s regular
commissioners meeting with vice chairman Jason Thompson recovering from surgery
and one seat vacant. An appointment to fill the seat is not on Monday’s agenda.