Karen Wood has been removed from the ballot for the Dosher Hospital Board of Trustees.
Trustee Debbie Wood filed the candidate challenge against Karen Wood, a physician at Boiling Springs Lakes Family Medicine.
Per North Carolina General Statute 131-7, only one practicing physician may serve on the board at a time. The statute is old and has been replaced; however, since Dosher was founded under that statute, it still applies. Currently, Dr. Terry Pieper is serving an active term on the board.
Debbie Wood said she spoke with Karen Wood about the issue and found that she was unaware. By that time, Karen Wood was outside of the period in which she could take herself out of the running.
“She wanted to have her name removed but statutorily we could not allow the withdraw,” said Sara Knotts, Brunswick County Board of Elections director.
The motion to grant the challenge was passed unanimously at the Board of Elections meeting on Tuesday.
In the fall, voters will elect four members to the board. Linda Pukenas is running unopposed for her seat. Trustees Wood and Robert Howard are seeking re-election, while former trustee Joe Agovino and Jwantana Frink have also filed for the open three seats.
One-stop, absentee voting runs from October 16-November 1. The deadline to register is October 11.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the board revisited the issue of precinct naming.
Members were considering stopping the use of names associated with precincts and using the alphanumeric code instead. For example, “Southport one” would only be known as Precinct 07 or referred to as The Brunswick Center, the name of the polling location.
“As we grow and we have more precincts — and we certainly will — I think we will run into problems with names, and at some point, we’ll have to switch to numbers,” said secretary Stuart Smith.
During the 2020 elections, the county will be implementing new equipment and the state’s new voter photo identification requirement. Some board members thought it would be too much change at one time.
Charles Warren of the Black Leadership Caucus argued it would be confusing to senior citizens who have voted in the same places their entire lives.
“Elderly people go up to the poll, they realize they’re at the wrong place — What are they gonna do?” he said. “They’re going to get in their car and go home. They’re not coming back. Basically, that’s considered voter suppression.”
He and other attendees urged the board to make the transition slowly and after the 2020 election.
The board approved a motion to drop the item from the agenda and revisit it at a later date, allowing time for Knotts to come up with a plan for the proposed change.