The Moore County Board of Elections held a special meeting Monday concerning irregularities in the Carthage mayoral race.
A search of voting records revealed that current Mayor Lee McGraw had moved outside the town limits of Carthage. McGraw remarried last year and made a decision to move into his wife’s home.
His new residence was within Carthage’s ETJ district, but North Carolina statutes require that candidates for local municipal offices reside within the town limits.
During the meeting, an emotional McGraw addressed the board and withdrew from the race.
“I want to thank you for everything you do,” said McGraw. “I know how hard your work. When this was called to my attention, I never considered it. I only wanted to serve my town. This is tough. It was an oversight, but it’s the law. I resigned this morning (from the election). I love Carthage.”
According to the Moore County website, the Board of Elections’ purpose is to “maintain voter registration for the citizens of Moore County, conduct all elections held in Moore County, to include all of its eleven municipalities; assist persons desiring to file for office; administer the Campaign Reporting Act; and ensure the enforcement of all election laws of the State of North Carolina.”
After a closed session, the board announced that they had accepted McGraw’s withdraw from the race. They also announced that new ballots were in the process of being printed, and recertification of the voting machines would be completed in time for the start of one-stop voting next week. The cost of reprinting the ballots is the Town of Carthage’s responsibility.
There are three candidates remaining in the race. Jimmy Chalflinch, Kevin Lewis and George H. Wilson, Jr. are the candidates for Carthage Mayor.
The election is on Tuesday, November 5, with early voting running from October 16 to November 1.
You can find more information about early voting on the Moore County Board of Elections website.
Sandhills Sentinel has reached out to the Town of Carthage concerning McGraw’s status as mayor. As of press time, they had reached out to the town attorney and is waiting for a response. This is a breaking story and will be updated as necessary.
~ Written by Sandhills Sentinel Local News/Government Reporter Chris Prentice.
Contact him at [email protected] or (910) 639-9303.
Photo of Lee McGraw courtesy of Town of Carthage.