The 2011 election was the first time in years that Morganton's election was conducted by the Burke County Board of Elections. Mayor Mel Cohen was interviewed and made several comments. Mayor Cohen said he expected improvements in the process before 2013. Morganton has experienced criticism of the election / runoff method used allowing an "OCTOBER" election date.
This method requires a candidate receive 50 percent of the votes plus 1 to be declared the winner. If no winner, a "runoff" election can be held in "NOVEMBER" (during the time all other towns actually hold their elections). This method is used in 17 other cities across North Carolina, including Raleigh, Shelby, Statesville, Monroe, and Rocky Mount.
Mayor Cohen says "I've heard some argue we could save money holding the election in November when county elections are held, using the "plurality method" where the candidate who gets the most votes wins". Figures have been thrown out, and every time they seem to be different. I believe elections are the foundation of our democracy, like the foundation to your house, I would ask,'Do you want it built the cheapest way ?
Mayor Cohen continued saying the plurality method can result in a candidate winning who receives a smaller percentage of the vote. Mayor Cohen continues saying October elections don't "get lost" in the shuffle of deciding county-wide issues. Next a comparison to voter turnout in Morganton on Oct. 11 is compared to that of Burke County the following month (10.4%) to (14.6%) which based on the respective number of eligible voters is just a BAD comparison !
Finally, Mayor Cohen states "The multiple voting sites and the method used by BCBOE to notify voters was confusing and we won't be using that in the future. REALLY Mel, so you think you have the AUTHORITY to tell the BCBOE's how many polling places to use to conduct the elections ?
Folks, please look at this as it is an "ABUSE of POWER" and at the least an attempt to "TAMPER with Morganton's election" which is not allowed since Morganton contracted with BCBOE's to conduct ALL future city elections. Mel will continue to do "whatever he wants, as long as taxpayers sit by and do nothing".
Morganton must do better.