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Franklin County board seeks Nov. 8 special election to fill vacancy after colleague's death

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Aug. 3 Franklin County board meeting

On Wednesday, the Franklin County Board of Supervisors gathered for a special meeting at the Franklin County Municipal Building in Rocky Mount just a few hours after Leland Mitchell’s funeral at Beulah Baptist Church.

ROCKY MOUNT — Potential candidates interested in filling the vacant Snow Creek District seat on the Franklin County Board of Supervisors have just a couple of weeks to get their paperwork in.

The county intends to hold a special election Nov. 8 to fill the vacancy left by the recent death of Snow Creek District Supervisor Leland Mitchell.

Mitchell, 82, died Saturday at his home. He was a member of the board for more than 16 years and began his fifth term in January. The county must hold a special election to allow Snow Creek District voters to select someone to serve the remaining three years of Mitchell’s term.

During a special meeting Wednesday, the board voted to petition the Franklin County Circuit Court for a writ to hold the special election Nov. 8, the same day as the general election.

If the court does so, candidates who wish to appear on the special election ballot will have until Aug. 19 to file with Franklin County Voter Registrar Kay Chitwood.

Board Chairman Ronnie Thompson said candidates must be registered to vote in the county’s Snow Creek District and will need to fill out the standard election packet. That packet can be obtained at Chitwood’s office, located in the Franklin County Government Center at 1255 Franklin St., Suite 106, Rocky Mount.

“They’ve got to get their 125 signatures and everything. The biggest difference is the time crunch that they’re going to be up against,” Thompson said.

Questions about the special election should be directed to Chitwood.

Meanwhile, until the special election, state law allows the board to appoint someone to temporarily fill the seat. On Wednesday, the board immediately opened applications for an interim supervisor. Those who apply must be registered to vote in the Snow Creek District.

The interim applications are due to Board of Supervisors Clerk Madherleyn Torres by noon Aug. 16. Questions about the interim application should be directed to Torres.

Franklin County officials stressed that the interim appointment and special election are separate and distinct.

The interim appointee will leave office as soon as the special election results are certified and the winner takes office. Furthermore, the interim supervisor is not a shoe-in to win the election. As such, anyone interested in filling the Snow Creek District seat long-term should submit both an interim application and file for the special election with the registrar’s office.

County Administrator Chris Whitlow added that, due to redistricting, the Snow Creek District lines have changed in the last year or so. Anyone interested in either the interim or special election should check with the county to make sure they are within the district boundaries.

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Molly Hunter covers Franklin County. She can be reached at (540) 981-3127, or molly.hunter@roanoke.com.

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