Rocky Mount voting timeline has candidates, citizens concerned

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ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. (WNCN) — A runoff election in the Rocky Mount mayoral race is underway, but both candidates believe the Board of Elections is biased.

“The reality is Rocky Mount is 67 percent African-American and we have not had an African-American mayor since its inception,” said mayoral candidate Bronson Williams.

On election day, the people of Rocky Mount spoke and Sandy Roberson won the mayoral race by a landslide.

But he failed to capture 50 percent of the vote.

“I was 177 votes away from not having to deal with any kind of runoff,” said Roberson.

As a runoff gets underway in Edgecombe County, both Roberson and Williams believe the vote is a sham since no polls are open on the Nash County side of Rocky Mount for eight more days.

Rocky Mount sits in both Nash and Edgecombe counties.

“This is nothing more than a voter suppression tactic,” said Williams.

“We’re depriving those residents that live within Rocky Mount in Nash County the opportunity to vote early in their own community where they have access to public transportation and can get to the polls much easier,” said Roberson.

“If you have opened up early election sites throughout Nash County, why not Rocky Mount?” said Williams. “We’re always getting the short end of the stick.”

That’s a question that both candidates took to the Nash County Board of Elections.

“As far as they’re concerned, they’ve already met,” said Roberson. “It is what it is. There aren’t going to be any changes.”

The reason they were given was that there simply isn’t enough time to prepare pollsters for another location.

“For the lack of a mere room, and a couple of people, just to open up a site in Rocky Mount solves all of those issues,” said Roberson.

“There’s no reason we shouldn’t be here today casting votes in this mayoral election,” said Williams.

“The county of Nash isn’t even paying for this, they just have to administer it,” said Roberson. “This seems like a silly thing to be drawing the line on.”

Roberson told CBS 17 if he loses the runoff election he plans to file a protest with the North Carolina Board of Elections.

In the event of a protest, a third election for mayor would be held in January.

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