Surry elections official certified by state


First Posted: 10/10/2009

DOBSON Mary Watson of Surry County has earned the title of certified elections official by the North Carolina State Board of Elections Certification Board.
Watson, a member of the Surry County Board of Elections since August 2005, was presented with an award signifying that achievement at a recent State Board of Elections training seminar in Raleigh. The certification goes to those who complete a comprehensive amount of coursework, meet experience requirements and pass a final written examination.
North Carolina is one of the few states in the country that recognizes the work, effort and professionalism of its elections administrators and officials in such a manner.
In order to obtain the necessary number of credits to apply to take the examination, an election official must attend a minimum of four core courses, for a total of more than 12 hours of instruction. In addition, they must participate in seminars conducted by the State Board of Elections and the North Carolina Institute of Government. Three years of experience in elections also is mandated.
One of the more rigorous requirements is said to be the final examination, which is both essay and short answer. During testing, it is necessary to provide not only the answer but to cite the pertinent statute to support that answer. The certification program is designed to take nearly three years to complete.
The Surry County Board of Elections office values the dedication Mrs. Watson brings to our board, said a statement issued by the office of Susan Jarrell, elections director. She is a devoted advocate for the citizens of Surry County.
Watson is one of three members of the county Board of Elections, along with Chairman Hugh Campbell and Kevin Thomas, secretary. All three were reappointed to two-year terms in August by the State Board of Elections, to run to 2011, and were sworn in by Judge William Southern.
The local board oversees operations at the elections office in Dobson, which handles voter registration, processes candidate filings and conducts elections for county government and municipal offices throughout Surry.
Elections board members also canvass the votes after every round of balloting and certify the results, meaning they have the final say in election outcomes. In addition, they approve every absentee ballot for elections and hear challenges from voters.

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