ELIZABETHTOWN — The residency of N.C. House Rep. William Brisson is being challenged, and the preliminary hearing is set for next week.
Elizabethtown attorney Matthew John Dixon, a former opponent of Brisson’s, recently filed an affidavit with the Bladen County Board of Election challenging Brisson’s candidacy on the basis of residency.
“The candidate stated that he was a resident of Bladen County using his current voter registration data and his Notice of Candidacy,” the affidavit reads, later stating Brisson “does not meet the requirements” of the July 31, 2017, Covington v. State of North Carolina United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina ruling that ordered each Senator and Representative shall have resided “in the district for which he is chosen for one year immediately preceding his election.”
Dixon submitted as evidence two letters sent to Brisson at his physical address, both of which were returned with post office markings indicating the address does not have a mail receptacle. At least one of the letters was sent from Real Facts NC in Raleigh; the other sending address is covered. Dixon also submitted as evidence the Bladen County Board of Elections candidate list showing Brisson’s address as a post office box number in Dublin.
The Notice of Candidacy filed by Brisson with the Board of Elections lists his physical address as being on Hwy. 410 in Bladenboro and his mailing address as being a post office box in Dublin.
In the affidavit, Dixon claims Brisson “failed to establish his residence in Bladen County, or in any other place in State House District 22, by February 28, 2018 …”
A preliminary hearing on the challenge will be held Tuesday at 2 p.m. at the Bladen County Board of Elections. Because District 22 includes portions of Sampson County, the hearing will be presided by Sampson County Board of Elections members G.H. Wilson and Horace Bass, as well as Bladen County Board of Elections Director Cynthia Shaw and Chairman Bobby Ludlum. Wilson and Bass are Democrats; Ludlum is Republican.
“This is just a preliminary hearing,” Shaw commented, “to decide if it will go into a full-blown hearing or if the challenge will be denied.”
Brisson, 71, is a Republican member of the North Carolina General Assembly.In October 2017 he switched from the Democratic to the Republican Party.