PEMBROKE — The Lumbee Board of Elections ruled this morning that Chairman Paul Brooks is ineligible to seek another term as chairman this November, according to Sheila Beck-Jones, the board’s chairman.
“We met and now it’s out of the Elections Board’s hands,” Beck-Jones said. “We made our decision. Now we have to just wait and see what happens.”
The Lumbee Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the five-member elections board to meet within three business days of Brooks’ filing as a candidate to review his application and determine if, based on elections criteria, he is eligible to seek re-election. Brooks filed for re-election on Wednesday.
Brooks is the only candidate affected by the court ruling concerning immediate certification. All other candidates will be certified under a longstanding BOE policy of certifying candidates shortly after the end of the candidate filing period.
The candidate filing period for the upcoming November election ends Sept. 18.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard a petition from Brooks seeking a ruling on what defines an elected term. Brooks contends that his being elected to finish out the remaining one-year term of former Chairman Purnell Swett’s term should not be considered a full term.
The Lumbee Tribe’s constitution states that the chairman and Tribal Council members cannot be elected to serve more than two consecutive three-year terms.
Lumbee Supreme Court Justice Matthew Scott said Tuesday that if Brooks was found ineligible to seek re-election by the Elections Board, he could appeal to the Court. Scott said the court would then “quickly” act to issue a written ruling based on testimony heard at Tuesday’s hearing. There would be no need for another hearing, said Scott.
Bob Shiles can be reahed at 910-416-5165.