Press Release: Appeal Filed in Guilford County Electioneering Case
June 29, 2022
For Immediate Release
GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. – On Thursday, June 30th the North Carolina State Board of Elections will hear the appeal in former County Commissioner Alan Branson’s election protest, made on behalf of Guilford County taxpayers, with regard to the illegal use of taxpayer funds to electioneer for the passage of the $1.7 billion bond on the ballot in May 2022.
Ahead of Thursday’s hearing, both parties have filed briefs summarizing their arguments, which can be viewed here: Branson’s Appeal Brief and Guilford Board of Commissioners and School System’s Joint Brief.
“Having lost an election myself by 72 votes, out of over 43,000 cast, I know how important fair elections are,” said Branson. “As County Commissioner for almost a decade, I took our role as stewards of Guilford County citizen’s hard-earned taxpayer dollars seriously. We want the best education resources for our students in Guilford County, but we must ensure the law is followed. It is unjust to take taxpayer dollars and use them in such a political, partisan way. The taxpayers of Guilford County deserve better and I’ll continue to fight for that.”
Branson’s evidence shows the Guilford County School System and the Guilford County Board of Commissioners sent mass texts, emails, voicemails, and mailers to tens of thousands of voters instructing them to “Vote Yes” on the bond. School administrators also deliberately removed high school students from educational settings to propagandize the bond, as well as incentivizing students to vote in exchange for exemption from teacher-made exams.
The School System also paid for a political operative to create a voter analysis, created and posted videos in support of the bond, and promised the creation of nearly 25,000 jobs in Guilford County if the bond passed. The School System also took the liberty of appropriating COVID expenditures to advertise. Finally, it appears the School System, Superintendent Sharon Contreras, and board of education members may have also crossed lines with third party groups to support the bond, including nonprofits, businesses, and political committees.
“After reviewing their brief, we are further resolved to get this right for Guilford County taxpayers,” states Branson attorney Philip Thomas. “Instead of defending the integrity of their actions, they are trying to find procedural and technical loopholes in the hopes the State Board declines to even look at the evidence of illegal electioneering - all 192 pages of it. We will push forward in the fight to hold these bad actors accountable.”
Branson is also represented by Steven Walker, of Walker Kiger, PLLC, and Kevin Cline of Kevin Cline Law, PLLC. Thursday’s hearing will take place virtually. Both sides will be given 20 minutes to present their case. You can see the meeting details and information on how to view the meeting at this link.