Former Guilford County Commissioner Alan Branson – who is currently running for County Commissioner General – has filed a complaint against the means used by Guilford County and Guilford County Schools to promote the referendum on $1.7 billion school bonds that voters approved in the May primary election. .
On Thursday, June 30, the North Carolina State Board of Elections did the exact same thing the Guilford County Board of Elections did a few weeks earlier with the same complaint – it voted against 3 to 2 according to the party lines.
Branson, a Republican, lost his appeal to the state board after the board debated the issue and listened to evidence for about an hour and 15 minutes as part of a state board of elections meeting. of North Carolina who also addressed several other issues. The three Democrats on the board dismissed the complaint.
Branson’s complaint was an effort to prevent certification of the massive school bond referendum by county and state election officials. It is illegal in the state of North Carolina for public agencies like Guilford County or its school system to use taxpayer money or public resources to promote the passage of a bond referendum. Guilford County’s pre-election website described the benefits of the bonds in glowing and appealing terms and downplayed the fact that county taxpayers will repay about $2.5 billion — the $1.7 billion plus the interest – for 20 years.
Branson also questioned the legality of some promotional brochures that pushed for the passage of bonds that he said were paid for using taxpayer funds.
Branson said after the vote that unlike the Guilford County Board of Elections, the state board at least reviewed the evidence. He said he still doesn’t understand how rational people can see the way the county and schools are presenting the bonds and not realize the obvious attempt to push for passage using taxpayer resources.
State law allows counties and school systems to “educate” the public about bond referendums as long as they don’t promote the bond by doing so.