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Lenoir County Elections Director says controversy is in the past

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KINSTON, N.C. -

Tuesday night’s election was the first for Lenoir County's elections director since her board tried to get her fired.

Earlier this year, board members accused Dana King of poor leadership, communication and organization. She kept her job, so they all quit.

King, who has held the position for nearly 17 years, reflected on what happened as voters cast their ballots.

"I prayed about it every day,” she said Tuesday. “I said lord, if you have other plans for me, then send me somewhere else. If you don't, then I know I'll be there until I get ready to retire."

King’s elections board filed a petition in January to fire her on allegations of mismanagement. But she filed a response defending herself and then Gary Bartlett, the state board director at the time, rejected that petition. He blamed both sides for poor communication and personality conflicts.

"I think there's plenty of blame to go around between all four of us,” King said. “We should've stayed in better contact with each other."

King now has a new board after all three members of her former board resigned. She says everything is running smoothly and she's made an effort to improve communication.

"I send them emails, I give them reminders, I give them calendars of everything," she explained.

But Sharon Kanter, the former board chairwoman who helped file the petition, isn't buying it. 

“We had hopes that a lot of the things that we had initiated during our term would bear fruit and see some change further on,” she said Wednesday. “I don't think we've seen a lot of that change."

Kanter, who is now the first vice-chair of the Lenoir County Democratic Party, said she thinks the elections website is still outdated and poll results came out too late Tuesday night, when compared with other counties.

But both women can agree on one thing: moving forward.

"I have no regrets,” Kanter said. “We identified things we wanted to do, and you know moved on."

King agreed, “The past is in the past and that's where I would like to keep it."

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