FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 7, 2020
For media inquiries:
Durham, N.C. — By a decision of 3-2 following a formal hearing on July 7, 2020, the Wayne County Board of Elections has accepted the allegations of an election protest challenging the result of the Wayne County Board of Commissioners District 3 Democratic Primary, held on March 3, 2020. If that decision stands, it will overturn Bevan Julius Foster’s win in that contest. Foster, a Black man who had previously served on the Goldsboro City Council, won the primary with 40.78% of the votes. His win was challenged on the basis that Foster does not live in his district and thus was not eligible to run.
Foster was represented in the hearing by Jeff Loperfido, Senior Counsel for Voting Rights with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.
In his arguments on behalf of Foster, Loperfido provided significant evidence that Foster established his legal residence in Commissioner District 3 in December 2019 and has continued to live in that district ever since. The evidence included multiple sworn statements from Foster and others, utility bills, legal documents and mailings from local governmental entities that had been sent to, and received at, the address in question. The protestor’s dispute of Foster’s residency was based on circumstantial evidence pertaining to the conditions of the residence, mailings to the residence, and other documentation concerning Foster’s prior address.
“We provided considerable proof that Bevan Foster does indeed live in the district he was elected to represent and are incredibly disappointed that the majority of the Wayne County Board of Elections chose to place the concerns of one individual above both the extensive evidence presented and the will of the voters,” Loperfido said. “North Carolina has an unfortunate history of challenging the lawful elections of candidates of color or placing undue scrutiny upon them when they take office. We must continue to fight for every voice to be heard, not just at the polls on Election Day, but in guaranteeing that leaders of color are able to serve when lawfully elected. We look forward to presenting our case to the State Board of Elections on appeal and are hopeful that the State Board will use its authority to correct this wrong.”
The Southern Coalition for Social Justice, founded in 2007, partners with communities of color and economically disadvantaged communities in the South to defend and advance their political, social, and economic rights through the combination of legal advocacy, research, organizing and communications. Learn more at southerncoalition.org and follow our work on Twitter and Facebook.