Local elections officials are awaiting word from the state Board of Elections on how to proceed with a possible extra congressional primary this year.
The regular primary for all other races is still scheduled for March 15. The U.S. Supreme Court denied a state request for a stay on redistricting maps, and the state legislature redrew the U.S. House district maps late last week. House Bill 2 was approved and did away with a potential second primary and added a June 7 special congressional primary. It also added a new filing period from March 16 to 25 for U.S. House candidates. “We are just waiting,” said Meloni Wray, elections director for Craven County. “The state board has not given us any direction. What we know is according to the paper.” The areas involved for Craven County are District 1, which has no primary slated, and District 3, which has a Republican primary with incumbent Walter B. Jones and challengers Phil Law and Taylor Griffin. Pamlico and Jones counties have only the District 3 primary on their March 15 ballots.
As for cost, Craven County would be the only local county with an added expense for a June 7 primary. Wray said an estimate would be about $60,000. She said a request to fund a possible second primary was not approved in her budget.
A June primary would not be an added cost for Pamlico and Jones counties, since both had budget approval to fund a possible second primary. Wray noted that the last word from the state Board of Elections said the matter was not settled and it encouraged all voters to vote the entire ballot on March 15, which would include the congressional races. “We are just continuing on until told,” Wray said. “We are issuing the ballots and continuing the process like we normally would. We haven’t ordered any new ballots.”