From WSOC-TV: Burke County Takes Over Morganton Elections (Dave Faherty surprised Burke County Board of Elections Director Debbie Mace on Tuesday and posted the story to WSOC TV's website.)
"It's so nonpolitical. We don't get wrapped up in other governments like school board races,” said Mayor Mel Cohen. “Fortunately we don't have that political atmosphere in our city. We appoint people by who they are not what political party they are." Many voters said they had no idea why the city held its elections early. Betty Carson has been voting in Morganton for five decades and wasn’t aware of the reason, but she said cost should be factor. "As the way we are in financial difficulty right now, it would be better to do it all together to save money,” she said. The Board of Elections hopes to revisit the timing of the elections some time after all the votes are counted.
(The Hound): The reason why Morganton holds this election separate from other elections is because they want to reduce the turnout, which helps the local elected officials better control the outcome. In Hickory, there was a 6+ fold increase in voter participation in the 2008 Presidential election compared to the 2009 city election and the 2010 Federal Election saw several times the turnout of the 2009 election. I believe that local officials don't want Federal and State elections to hold influence over voter decisions regarding City officials. A public that is likely to sweep out incumbents at the State and Federal level would be just as likely to sweep out local officials and in my opinion justifiably so.
To me the money issue is a non-issue. The City (government) is the body that has chosen to hold these separate elections for years. The City officials have chosen to do it this way. Here in Hickory, we have a Mayor that is trying to keep a referendum about the confusing and befuddling "Modified At-Large" system of city voting from garnering enough signatures by expressly telling people that it will cost money -- ( probably $800,000 like the city owned pools that he wanted torn up last year - haha!!!). What he fails to tell people is that we already spend extra money on elections that aren't necessary, because of the way this modified election system works with Ward Primaries in October and a General the first week in November. It is all about trying to control who sits on the Council, as best as they can, just like in Morganton.
As Mayor Wright has stated, they don't want people on the Council who don't focus on City Wide Issues. What does this mean? They don't want people who might bring ward specific concerns to the table. They want people who are willing to go along to get along with the Power's That Shouldn't Be's agenda, which might just (and probably) have negative consequences towards your own ward. If ward constituents don't like specific policies, then tough, they are going to shove it down your throat anyway and they don't want a "Trouble Maker" sitting on the Council giving official credence to those concerns.
The Governor is feeling the heat of corruption in the Democrat party. This is the reason for her "shake-up." Juliegh Sitton, an attorney from Morganton and until late last week was the Director of the Governor's Western Office, is accused of campaign "issue" involving a local millionaire in Morganton who is a Fast Food magnate. This Fast Food magnate has been implicated in several scandals including with the former Governor Mike Easley, Governor Bev Perdue, and from what I have read and heard the Football Scandal at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Juleigh Sitton is the daughter of former Superior court Judge Claude Sitton.
Connect the Dots:
SBI investigates contributions for Perdue's campaign flights - Morganton News Herald - Mike Baker - October 8, 2010
Why Did Perdue Campaign Not Use Cheaper State Plane? - Carolina Journal - Don Carrington - September 30, 2010
Dozens Involved in Aircraft Provider Program for Perdue, Easley - Carolina Journal - Don Carrington - October 28, 2010