WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The petitions are in, and the people have spoken but the fight over annexation is far from over. The city of Wilmington and four other cities across the state have filed a lawsuit against the State of North Carolina, the North Carolina Board of Elections, and multiple county’s Board of Elections.
In the lawsuit, the cities claim the law regulating petitioning for annexation is unconstitutional.
“And then the thing they made you do was have an election where only certain land owners were allowed to vote,” said Wilmington city councilman Kevin O’Grady. “So, people who rent, they don’t get to vote. People who don’t live in the area, they don’t get to vote. People affected by the vote, the city of Wilmington residents, they don’t get to vote. That’s un-American and that’s basically what we’re challenging. It’s an unconstitutional election.”
Representative Carolyn Justice says the lawsuit is a waste of time.
“It will be a monumental waste of taxpayer’s money and probably embarrassing for the cities when they’re finished,” said Justice.
Justice says the cities are scrabbling to figure out how to annex even though residents, like those in Monkey Junction and near Southport, have shown in the returned petitions they do not want it.
“Forced annexation ignores the voice of the people,” said Justice. “Just the very action, ignores the voice of people. And now, 75 percent in Monkey Junction, and I think a greater number than that in Southport, have spoken. And now, they’re ignoring that voice. But worse than that, they’re wasting the money, tax money paid by the people who already live in the city of Wilmington on this legal action.”
O’Grady says he thinks the state is the one who is wasting citizen’s time and money.
“I thought it was a waste of taxpayer money to pass a statute that was so obviously unconstitutional,” said O’Grady.
O’Grady says the cities will ask a judge in Wake County Thursday to temporarily stop the Board of Elections from verifying petitions that were due back Tuesday.