Will panel keep Harris?

“She’s been in the job for 30 years, it would be hard to replace her,” Kelley said. But he also said he doesn’t really know what will happen.

Haley pointed out that Harris is very nonpartisan. “I don’t think anyone should be removed because of party affiliation,” he said. “It would be a sad state of affairs if we let party lines dictate who we appoint to assure that we have fair nonpartisan elections.”

One of the Republicans on the panel, Delores Mackey who is also a returning member, said while she isn’t able to say who she would support, she has known Harris for eight years and found her to have done a very fair and honest job.

The other two Republicans are Phillip Price and Jan Williams.

Harris herself says she would really like to keep her job.

“I’m just 61,” she said. “While I have enough time in, I’m not ready to retire yet.”

Haley noted that replacing Harris would mean the county would lose her skill and expertise with elections.

“I’ve been to state election seminars,” he said. “When the State Commissioner of Elections didn’t know the answer to questions about election law, he called on Lynn Harris for the answers.”

Regarding her party affiliation Harris said, “The records will show I have voted in the Democratic Primaries, because that was who was running, but this office in nonpartisan. It has to be. The job is to run a fair election. We probably have more Republicans working here than Democrats, as well as a lot of Independents.” (The county’s first Republican primary was held in February 2008.)

Harris, who has been administrator of elections for 30 years, added that the election office seems like home to her and her family. “My daughter spent the first three or four months of her life in a box in this office,” Harris said. “That may seem funny, but it was what we had room for.” 

Staff Writer Connie Esh may be contacted at cewrites@wilsonpost.com.