WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A woman who was once the top nominee to fill a vacancy on the New Hanover County Commission is now not allowed to vote or hold public office in the county.
Tuesday the New Hanover County Board of Elections ruled that Melissa Gott does not live in the county and therefore is not a registered voter.
Gott was expected to defend her residency in New Hanover County, but decided against it. Her attorney, John Ferrante, spoke to the Board of Elections, calling the challenge frivolous.
"Ms. Gott has decided to save this board a long, drawn-out hearing," Ferrante said. "This withdrawal of objection to the challenge should not be seen or perceived of admission that the challenge is valid."
Gott was the Republican Party's nominee to fill a vacant county commission seat, but was rejected after her New Hanover County residency was questioned.
Wilmington business owner Justin LaNasa was set to testify Tuesday to prove Gott does not live in the county and only uses her house at 602 Chestnut Street for work. In reaction to Ferrante's statement, the Board of Elections unanimously ruled to uphold LaNasa's challenge, meaning Gott is not a registered voter in the county.
"I believe she did the right thing, and hopefully there's no little lawyer tricks involved where it comes back," LaNasa said.
However, according to Elections Director Marvin McFadyen, Gott could still register to vote in New Hanover County this week and claim she has lived at the Wilmington address for at least 30 days.
"Because you've been removed from the records, a person can still meet the qualifications to register and vote based on what the law reads," McFadyen said.
Folks who live around Gott's house on Chestnut Street also showed up to the hearing. One neighbor WWAY spoke with says this is proof that Gott did not live at the house.