NEWLAND — The Avery County Board of Elections has decided to dismiss the Board of Education election protest filed by BOE candidate Derrick Calloway.

Calloway had filed the protest on March 13 against current BOE Chair John Greene, claiming that the physical residency address provided on the application to run for office was falsified. Greene had received 1,231 more votes than Calloway on the March 3 election.

“[The Board of Elections] dismissed it because there was some inefficiencies in the petition itself that were either not fulfilled or filled out completely. They said it did not substantially comply with the legal requirements laid out in the general statute,” Board of Elections Deputy Director Caleb Hogan said on March 23.

Calloway has the right to appeal the board’s decision to the North Carolina State Board of Elections.

“We sent a certified letter to him. Once he receives the certified letter, he has five business days to file a petition with the state board of elections, [which includes] submitting an appeal application,” Hogan said.

Calloway clarified that he intends to appeal the county elections board decision.

“I appreciate the Board of Elections for taking the time to review my protest,” Calloway told The AJT on Tuesday, March 24. “I understand their ruling due to technicalities that were unknown to me when I was preparing my protest. I will appeal the protest to the State Board of Elections.”

In response to the board’s decision, Greene released the following statement:

“I want to first of all thank the Avery County Board of Elections, staff and attorney for their due diligence in allowing our legal process to do its job.

“I most especially want to thank my Lord and Savior for allowing me the grace to endure this particularly difficult time for me and my family. The support and encouragement we have received from the people of Avery County has been overwhelming and I can never put into words what that has meant, but I thank you.”

Greene continued, “After thoughtful review and careful consideration, the Board of Elections unanimously rendered a fair and objective decision to dismiss the challenge brought against me as to the validity of my voter registration in Avery County. I am glad that I can now place my complete focus on the largest crisis our school system and county has faced during my lifetime.

“I appreciate the Avery County Board of Education, administration, faculty, staff and fellow Avery County citizens who have helped to feed over a thousand children a day since closing our schools due to COVID-19. I wish no ill will to those who challenged my position and hope that we can now continue to focus on what’s most important...the health and well being of Avery County. I am disappointed that Mr. Calloway has chosen not to respect the decision rendered by our very capable and trustworthy Avery County Board of Elections to dismiss his protest. Amid the current crisis that we as a county and even as a country are facing with COVID-19, this is a time when we need unity, not division to confront, and solve issues related to our students and our community. Mr. Calloway’s protest has been an unnecessary distraction at a time when more important matters are at stake.”

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