The North Carolina Board of Elections will meet via teleconference on Monday, Jan. 7 at 3:30 p.m. to consider certifying Republican Mike Fryar as the winner of a four-year term in the District 2 Buncombe County Board of Commissioners race.
After several recounts, Fryar has been on top in every vote count. However, the state board has not yet certified the results pending a series of legal challenges by Republican Christina Kelley G. Merrill. A hand count of the ballots showed her just 18 votes behind tentative second-place finisher, Democrat Ellen Frost. Under a new election system, the second-place winner earns a two-year term.
Merrill is planning to file a lawsuit with the N.C. Superior Court in Wake County over the results, alleging that several ballots of Warren Wilson College residents were counted improperly.
In the meantime, if the state allows Fryar to be sworn in but not Frost or Merrill, the Buncombe County Board would consist of three Democratic and three Republican members.
Fryar says he’s been told by State Board of Elections Chair Larry Leake that he can expect to be certified as the first-place finisher.
Noting that the number of ballots Merrill is disputing is less than the number it would take to overturn him as the top vote-getter, Fryar says he hopes to start serving as soon as possible.
“I’ve been doing everything I’m supposed to do,” he maintains. “I shouldn’t be in the picture with any lawsuit.”
Anyone wishing to participate in the Jan. 7 teleconference should be at the Buncombe County Board of Elections office at 35 Woodfin St. in downtown Asheville by 3:30 p.m., according to the meeting notice.
Meanwhile, Fryar says that he’s already making tentative plans to be sworn in on Wednesday, Jan. 9.
The next meeting of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 15.