DOBSON, N.C. (WGHP) — The Town of Dobson will have to hold a new election, the State Board of Elections determined Monday.

At a BOE meeting on Monday, elections officials ordered that the Town of Dobson would hold a new Board of Commissioners election.

According to the board, they unanimously ordered a new election for two Dobson commissioner seats after a poll worker told multiple voters on Nov. 8 that a candidate was dead. The candidate, John Jonczak, is alive.

Jonczak came in third place in the four candidate contest, and protested the results. He was only behind second-place candidate Walter White by eight votes. A voter protested the vote as well, for the same reasons.

In an associated document, the voter wrote that he was “confused” by a poll worker telling him that Janczak was dead, because he’d just talked to him in the parking lot.

The Surry County Board of Elections decided that the poll worker’s actions could have influenced voters’ choices, casting doubt on such a close race. The state BOE agreed with that assessment.

The new election will be held on Mar. 7, 2023 with early voting beginning on Feb. 16, 2023. Voters will pick two out of three candidates: J. Wayne Atkins, Walter White and John Jonczak.

Under state law, the State Board may order a new election if at least four of its five members determine that “irregularities or improprieties occurred to such an extent that they taint the results of the entire election and cast doubt on its fairness.”

Damon Circosta, chair of the State Board of Elections, said the State Board does not take decisions to order new elections lightly.

“When issues arise, there are procedures in place to remedy them, and that’s where we are now,” Circosta said during the meeting.