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Dollar Bills

Guilford County Bond Protest

The Full Story

Jerry “Alan” Branson—a Guilford County resident, taxpayer, former County Commissioner, and current candidate for County Commission—initially sent a letter (through another attorney) to the Guilford County Board of Elections (“Guilford BOE”), North Carolina State Board of Elections, the State Treasurer, and the State Auditor requesting an investigation and injunction of the illegal use of taxpayer funds to campaign for the passage of a $1.7 billion school bond in Guilford County. After no action was taken, Mr. Branson filed a campaign finance complaint with the State Board of Elections—again, no action was taken. 


The bond passed and subsequently, Mr. Branson filed an election protest on behalf of Guilford County taxpayers. The protest was dismissed by the Guilford BOE for a “lack of probable cause.” Mr. Branson appealed the dismissal to the State Board of Elections. Following a hearing, the State Board of Elections affirmed the dismissal. 


In conjunction with the Taxpayers for Honest Elections, Mr. Branson then filed an appeal and motion for a stay of certification of the bond with the Wake County Superior Court. The Superior Court denied the motion for stay and held that Branson was unlikely to succeed on appeal. After which, Branson voluntarily dismissed his appeal. 


In his protest, Mr. Branson alleged and the evidence supports the fact that the Guilford County Board of Commissioners and the Guilford County Board of Education:

  • Paid for a political operative to create a voter analysis

  • Utilized the voter analysis to send targeted mass text messages, emails, voicemails, and mailers to tens of thousands of voters instructing them to “Vote Yes” on the bond

  • Removed high school students from educational settings to propagandize the bond all while incentivizing students to vote in exchange for exemption from teacher-made exams

  • Created and posted videos in support of the bond

  • Promised the creation of nearly 25,000 jobs in Guilford County

  • Appropriated COVID expenditures to advertise

  • Finally, it seems the School System, Superintendent Sharon Contreras, and board members may have also crossed lines with third-party groups to support the bond, including nonprofits, businesses, and political committees.



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