Jamezetta Bedford, current chairwoman of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education, thought she would be runnning unopposed for a two-year term in November.
However, a 1975 state law discovered by Gerry Cohen, a staff attorney for the N.C. General Assembly (NOTE: corrected from earlier version of this blog post), says Bedford must compete with the other seven candidates for the seat.
"If at any election for members of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Board of Education vacancies have occurred and there are both regular four-year terms and two-year unexpired terms to be filled by election, the candidates elected with the greatest numbers of votes shall be elected for regular four-year terms, and the candidates elected with the lowest numbers of votes shall be elected to fill the remained of the unexpired terms," the law states.
"I think my initial words to Tracy (Reams, director of the Orange County Board of Elections) were a mild “what a big screw-up. I haven’t even bought signs,'" Bedford said in an e-mail today.
According to Reams, only about 20 absentee ballots were sent out showing Bedford unopposed. The people that received those ballots have been notified and revised ballots will be sent out, Reams said.
In November, five of the eight candidates will be elected and the candidate with the lowest number of votes will be appointed to finish out the remaining two years of former board member Joe Green's term.
"We had specifically asked (Reams) about this prior to the filing period," Bedford said. "Oh well. I am passionate about education issues and would gladly serve another four years."