LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Tribal member is now chair of Swain Board of Elections

by Sep 3, 2021OPINIONS


Congratulations to newly sworn-in members of the Swain County Board of Elections. Hannah Smith, an attorney and member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, was appointed chair by Governor Cooper. Also serving are Mary K. Buranosky, Jeramy Shuler, Jim Nations, and Linda Sawyer.

The Board selected the first Tuesday of each month for their 5 p.m. meetings at their office on Highway 19 South in Bryson City.  (Note that the next meeting has been postponed until Sept. 14 after staff members were exposed to COVID.)  With few exceptions, these meetings are open to the public, according to the state’s open meetings law.

That law requires public notice two weeks in advance of regularly scheduled meetings. In Swain County, notice is posted on the county’s website.  A printed notice is placed on the Election Board’s office door.  For a small fee, individuals can request notice by mail or an e-mail for free.  The media also can request notice of meetings.

If the meeting schedule is changed, the new schedule must be announced at least seven days in advance.  Notice of official, non-regular meetings must be given 48 hours in advance. Emergency meetings require notification of the media after board members are called to consider an issue requiring immediate attention, and only that issue can be considered at the emergency session.

At a time when election decisions are receiving intense scrutiny, it is good to know that anyone interested in the work of county elections boards can attend their meetings and observe what’s going on.


Leila Tvedt Hyde

Voter and poll worker