State Orders New Election For Washington Co. Sheriff

The State Board of Elections has ordered a new sheriff's election for Washington County.

Don Wright, general counsel for the board, says it was a unanimous vote.

In last November's election Sheriff James Ross, a Democrat, won by just four votes over Republican Greg Hassell. Hassell disputed the results, saying there was evidence of election irregularities.

Wright says there has yet to be a date set for the new election, but by law it has to be at least 75 days from now. He says the State Board also ordered state staff to work with the Washington County Board of Elections to make the operation of the new election more efficient. Wright says that includes training of local staff.

Last week Ross told the state he would not object to a new election.

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A disputed sheriff's election in which the incumbent and challenger were separated by just four votes could be headed for a new election.

In a letter to the State Board of Elections today, a lawyer for Washington County Sheriff James Ross says the sheriff "would not object to the State Board entering an order calling for a new election."

The state had scheduled a hearing for next week to determine if a new election should be held. Challenger Greg Hassell said during November's election provisional votes weren't counted, ballots were misplaced, people who needed help voting were turned away from the polls, and more ballots were recorded than voters.

The State Board cancelled next week's hearing after receiving today's letter, but so far hasn't taken any further action on whether a new election will be held or not.

Hassell says he recently got a hold of county records that he says shows evidence of election irregularities.

There's no indication from the state on when it might call for a new election.

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  • by ENOUGH ALREADY Location: WASHINGTON COUNTY on Mar 5, 2011 at 10:00 AM
    As a taxpayer I regret the county has to pay for a new election, but if wrong doing occurred then we all have to pay the price for ignorance and incompetence. I can assure you that more wasteful things and mishandling of funds are going on that we are not aware of. Mr. Hassell is following the due process and is correct in doing so. These kinds of mistakes,irregularities and mishandling of ballots would have never been brought to the light of day if the margin in the election would have been something like 50 or 100 votes difference. I think the new election was granted for just cause and soon the NC Dept. of Justice will be looking into all concerned and the findings will be made public and some people are going to have some explaining to do. That investigation will not be hidden or put on hold. So fellow citizens, buckle-up it maybe a rough ride, but in the end it will be worth the price and pain.
  • by Common Sense Location: WASHINGTON COUNTY on Mar 5, 2011 at 08:44 AM
    Many of my fellow citizens are speaking without all the facts, thus,democrats and republicans are acting like spoiled children, continuing to view matters from their rectum. Regardless of party, color, where you live, or status - right is right & wrong is wrong.I've lived here all my adult life and have seen the bribes,payoffs, & blue light stops for the wrong reasons, officers lying to defendants for information & going back on their word,& obvious crimes being overlooked or put on hold; this has occurred by deputies, Plymouth police officers, investigators,and the office of high sheriff. So who can the average person trust to report a crime? There are some excellent officers in this county but the few bad ones ruin it for everyone. WHY CANT WE COME TOGETHER AND VOTE FOR A CHANGE - VOTE FOR THE RIGHT PERSON - A SHERIFF WE CAN BE PROUD TO REPRESENT US. SOMEONE TO KEEP THE GOOD OFFICERS & ELIMINATE CORRUPTION... WE HAVE NOT DONE THAT SO FAR. WE CAN DO BETTER!!!
  • by Where is the Justice Location: Washington County on Mar 3, 2011 at 04:29 AM
    When will there be justice for the people on Greg Hassell probation? He is still telling them that he can get them less time if they get him some votes! Isn't that blackmail? Why haven't something been done about this? When is justice going to come Greg Hassell's way? We need justice against this and now! Why haven't anybody investigated these alleged activities of this man? Oh, that's right. He has the LE too busy looking at other people to keep the eyes off of his dirty deeds! Can't Raleigh do something about this? It is been going on too long and it should end now, since we know he wants to hang people.
  • by Sound Advise Location: Plymouth on Mar 2, 2011 at 02:32 PM
    TO Puzzled: You might have read what was on Greg's website but you apparently didn't comprehend what you read. The State Board of Elections did exactly what they are allowed to do by law (ORDER A NEW ELECTION) based on the irregularities that occurred during the November election. This means things happened during the last election that should have not taken place, like dead people voting and so on. You are just upset because there is going to be a new election. Greg did his job, he proved there were problems with the election, the State Board agreed with him and granted a new election. If you want to see criminal indictments maybe you should tell Ross to do his job and arrest those who were involved in the voter fraud. That won't likely happen, because I heard it was his supporters who were responsible for this mess.. The State Board will be overseeing and watching the new election and if Ross' supporters try to pull their stunts again, that's when you will see the indictments.
  • by Puzzled on Mar 2, 2011 at 07:26 AM
    I finally got through everything that Greg has on his website......thanks Greg for putting all of it in one place. My take is just this.......the SBOE chickened out on their responsibilities. Listen carefully to what is said in the audio transcript. They are careful to make "no findings of fact." In other words, in their view, there is no evidence of criminal violations in any of it......thus, we taxpayers are going to pay for another election just so that we can have another election. Is that a good enough reason to spend our tax money (I've heard $30 thousand)? If there were violations like Gregg and others have been saying, then where are the Grand Jury indictments? Until I see someone charged with a criminal violation, I am not going to be satisfied.....even if we have a new election. AND.....given that the Republicans are in power in Raleigh now, don't give me that Democrat conspiracy nonsense either. Either there were criminal violations or the election should stand.
  • by fedup Location: plymouth on Feb 26, 2011 at 11:42 AM
    More hangings less crime
  • by To: Can't find it on Feb 25, 2011 at 07:11 PM
    Greg Hassell(Can't find it) thought that he was smart enough to take it off of his facebook page! But some people were smart enough to save the information because they knew that he would take it off! Now Mr. Candiate for Sheriff, be honest with the people since you want their votes. Be honest with WITN as to why you took it off of your facebook page?
  • by Don't Know Location: Plymouth on Feb 25, 2011 at 08:46 AM
    Well the way I see it, the citizens of Washington County should become acceptable to change. We are a small community and we should be knitted closer then we are. If we dont stand up for what is right as citizens in this county, then what we will continue to fall for nothing. Best of luck to both gentlemen. This time instead of complaining about the election, become a part of the election. GET OUT AND VOTE THIS TIME! MAKE A DIFFERENCE. EXERCISE OUR RIGHT, ESPECIALLY THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN POPULATION AND WOMEN.
  • by gail Location: roper on Feb 24, 2011 at 11:24 PM
    greg's still got my vote. give him a chance, this county needs somebody with a backbone! he wasn't afraid to buck the system!!!!
  • by Anonymous on Feb 24, 2011 at 04:11 PM
    Look over the time Ross has served, name what he has accomplished, is it what you think a Sheriff should accomplish while in term? Did he exceed expectations or fall short? I think a Sheriff should be seen around the community being vocal on how he feels about different issues, is he doing this?

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