GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – Felita Regina Donnell, whose family has deep roots in Guilford County, has assumed a job that has become increasingly thankless: serving on the Guilford County Board of Elections.
The NC BOE on Tuesday chose Donnell, who goes by Felita, as a replacement for the Rev. T. Anthony Spearman, who died suddenly on July 19.
Donnell, a resident of Greensboro who said her family had been in the county for 130 years, was nominated for the slot by the Guilford County Democratic Party, GCDP official Beth Lewis said.
She said the party’s elections committee met, and hundreds considered two candidates. “We had two rounds of voting, and on the second ballot she came out on top,” Lewis said.
Although Lewis said Donnell was the clear winner, the party also submitted the name of the runner-up, Monica Felecia Walker of Greensboro.
“We are required to submit two names,” Lewis said. “They didn’t have to take either one.”
But the BOE did select Donnell, noting her appointment as one of a handful at the bottom of a release about its meeting on Tuesday, and she will serve until the board’s next general election for 2-year terms.
Although Donnell said she “never held ‘elected office,’” she said she has “been an active volunteer with the Dem party for many years in many capacities.”
Elections officials more routinely have come under scrutiny because of the unfounded claims of election fraud led by former President Donald Trump. Many local election officials have been threatened personally because of those claims.
Given all of that, Donnell said she wanted to serve.
“I sought this position because I believe this is a way to contribute to the protection of voting for everyone in Guilford County,” she said.
The Guilford County BOE is chaired by Horace “Jim” Kimel Jr., and its secretary is Eugene Lester. Kathryn S., Lindley and Carolyn Bunker also are members.
Its role is to set calendars, enforce election rules, oversee the voting process, hear complaints – such as one lodged about the school bond issue passed in May – and, ultimately, certify election results.
The board last week formally certified the election of Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan and the eight members of City Council, which the state BOE also approved unanimously.
Spearman had served as president of the NC NAACP and president of the NC Council of Churches in addition to his role on the elections board.