Election Watch: Landrine’s candidacy for District 2 seat terminated

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – The Pitt County Board of Elections met Tuesday night to discuss the eligibility of John Landrine’s candidacy for the Greenville City Council District 2 seat.

Landrine’s supporters and members of the community, along with other District 2 candidates, came out to the meeting to hear the verdict.

Since the statutes mandate a candidate cannot run for a district they do not live in, the board passed the motion to terminate Landrine’s candidacy.

“How little authority the Pitt County Board of Elections has to rectify their own mistake; if you make a mistake, if you draw something wrong you should be able to do something to fix it yourself,” said Landrine.

The board decided to refund Landrine his filing fee. They also moved to look into changing the timeline of when they conduct audits so they do not have the problem in the future.

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John Landrine filed to run for the District 2 seat in July but when he showed up to vote early, he learned he actually lives in District 1.

The Board of Elections called the error an oversight one uncorrected for years.

Landrine says this not only affects him but everyone.

“Especially when I did everything I was supposed to do, I did exactly what I was told to do, I followed the letter of the Lord to a t. For them to then invalidate my campaign is simply wrong and it’s not just a matter for me, this affects every candidate in every district,” said Landrine.

By law, Landrine is no longer able to run for city council in District 2 since he was required to live there for 30 days prior to filing.

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) Many are still wondering whether or not a candidate for Greenville City Council is even able to run for the seat.

John Landrine filed to run in District 2, but when he went to vote early polling officials told him he actually lives in District 1.

After an audit of district assignments within the area, the Pitt County Board of Elections found that Landrine’s address wasn’t coded correctly.

“We’ve never seen anything like this happen before, with it affecting a candidate like this, and it’s really unfortunate,” said Dave Davis, director of the Pitt County Board of Elections.

The audit was completed after candidates for municipal elections filed to run.

If Landrine were to win in November, the seat would be labeled as vacant and the Greenville City Council would appoint someone to fill the seat in December.

“When you look at the statutes it’s really an odd situation because this normally all happens at filing where the board will look at the notice. So, we’re trying to apply the law to this,” said Davis.

Landrine said this realization leaves some voters without the ability to vote with confidence.

“This is something that you’re taking away. The right of voters to vote for who they intended to and there’s something very wrong with that,” said Landrine.

The Pitt County Board of elections is set to meet Tuesday afternoon to discuss whether or not they need to take a vote to cancel his notice of candidacy.

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John Landrine, who is running for Greenville City Council in District 2, has issued a second statement after the Pitt County Board of Elections said the street range John Landrine resides at had been incorrectly coded as District 2 for some time.

Landrine said, “Yes, I am still your candidate for District 2. Should I win this election and the Board of Elections takes it away from me and vacates the District 2 seat, the City Council will then appoint someone to that seat.  I am going to move into District 2 before the end of the election. I am confident that the Council will do the right thing; the honest, ethical and honorable thing and that is to appoint the person who receives the most votes to that seat. I believe they will appoint the candidate whom the voters have chosen. That is where you come in.  I am still running and on the ballot in District 2 and I need your vote now more than ever. Thank you!”

“The only solution to this unprecedented situation created by the Board of Elections is for the Board to put everything back the way it was before September 26 and leave it that way indefinitely.

If the BOE is suggesting this change (changing the 1600 block of W. Arlington Blvd from District 2, where it has been for maybe dozens of years, to District 1), then this means that the last election was in error and perhaps invalid.   It means that the election before that was also in error and the one before that, and before that and so on.

How many elections in Greenville, especially municipal elections, have been decided by a small handful of votes?  If things are to stay as the way they are right now, then in fairness to every candidate involved in elections over the last 20 years or more, we need to go back and do a recount, taking into consideration the now established lines. 

If the answer to this idea is that those elections concluded with the error in place, then how can the BOE change things in the middle of this election?  Should it not also proceed with the error in place?

The Board of Elections needs to put things back to the way they were before they interfered and displaced dozens of voters and a legitimate candidate for office.   I look forward to bringing the citizens in District 2 strong, independent representation and making sure their voices are heard.  

My 30 years of business experience coupled with dozens of years in positions helping people raise their standard of living and my empathetic relationship with the people, makes me the best candidate for the District 2 seat. I believe the Board of Elections has the obligation to allow the voters of District 2 a clear direction and the confidence that they can vote for me and that I will be allowed to serve as their legitimate elected representative.

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) The Pitt County Board of Elections said they apologize following Greenville candidate ineligibility for District 2 seat.

The Pitt County Board of Elections said that an audit of geocodes (district assignments to street ranges) was performed following the Congressional District 3 election in September.

Officials had to wait for the completion of the elections to make any changes to geocodes.

According to Director of Elections, Dave Davis, the street range John Landrine resides at had been incorrectly coded as District 2 for some time.

The correction to District 1 was made on September 26; the odd side of that street range is in District 2 and the even side (Landrine’s side) is in District 1.

It was not discovered that it affected Landrine until he presented to vote Wednesday morning, officials said.

Officials said that since ballots are printed and voting has started, it’s too late to remove his name from the ballot.

If Landrine wins the election the seat will be declared vacant since he is not eligible for District 2 and the Council who takes their oaths in December would then appoint someone to fill the vacancy, officials said.

Landrine sent the following press release:

“The Pitt County Board of Elections informed me today of an error they made that impacts my ability to serve on the Greenville City Council in District 2.  First, I would like the voters and organizations that support my campaign to know that I am still on the ballot and ready to serve the people of District 2, where I have been living for over seven years. That is until the Pitt County Board of Elections changed me to District 1 just last month.  I am confident the candidate the voters choose will be allowed to serve. 

I am very concerned that the Board of Elections changed the districts AFTER the filing deadline was over.  The area I live in has been voting in District 2 for as long as anyone on the Board of Elections can remember; it’s been District 2 for perhaps 30 or 40 years.  Then suddenly, less than three weeks before voting starts, they changed us to District 1 without notice. 

They tell me now that I am in District 1, if I had tried to file as a candidate for City Council in District 1 back in July, I would not have been allowed to do so because my address was in District 2, at the time.  So, I filed and ran in District 2.  However, now I am told that I am ineligible for the District 2 seat because my address is in District 1.

I cannot figure out what the Board of Elections believes I should have or could have done to run for Greenville City Council in any District.   I am making plans to relocate to District 2, once I can be absolutely certain of exactly where that is.  I fully intend to win this election and serve District 2.   I am not sure of exactly what paperwork is involved given the major mistakes made by the Board of Elections, but I will do whatever it takes.  

If action by the Greenville City Council is required to remedy the Board’s error, I am confident that the body will do the right thing.

Thank you!

John Landrine”

The Pitt County Board of Elections said they apologize to Landrine, his campaign team, and supporters for the unfortunate chain of events:

“Audits are never meant to harm any voter/candidate, but to ensure that voter records are as accurate as possible. It is encouraged that everyone register, vote, and, if they so desire, run for office. As always the Pitt County Board of Elections is here to assist with that and address any questions or concerns the public may have.”

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