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State elections board investigating suspect voter registration forms

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By Ginger Livingston
The Daily Reflector

Sunday, October 21, 2018

The state elections board confirmed on Friday it is investigating several reports of suspected voter registration fraud in Pitt County.

The North Carolina Republican Party announced the investigation in a Friday news release. The release described an incident involving a person identified only as a “Republican female” who was “targeted to be re-registered under a different age, sex, and race, and with a different signature.”

The release went on to say, “The voter was only notified because the potential criminal did not complete the rest of the form correctly.”

Pitt County Elections Director Dave Davis said while his staff was entering information from new voter registration forms, they noticed instances where the new form contained the name and address of an individual already registered but the date of birth and signatures were different. The individuals who already were registered were contacted and they confirmed they had not submitted new forms seeking changes.

Four forms have been submitted to the state board for investigation, Davis said.

Davis said he always urges voters to verify their information on the state Board of Elections website, www.ncsbe.gov, under “voter/absentee lookup.”

“The State Board is aware of the situation and is investigating and gathering information,” spokesman Patrick Gannon said. “This agency takes allegations of voter registration fraud very seriously, as it can interfere with individuals’ right to vote. Individuals and groups that commit voter registration fraud will be investigated and prosecuted.

The GOP news release went on to say the woman contacted by the Pitt County elections board immediately voted at a one-stop site “to ensure that no one was able to vote in her name.”

“Because this may not be an isolated incident, we encourage everyone to vote early as soon as possible to eliminate occurrences such as this one,” said Dallas Woodhouse, NCGOP executive director.

The news release also quoted House Elections Chairman Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, as saying the incident highlights the need to pass the Voter ID Constitutional Amendment which will require a voter to present photographic identification before receiving a ballot.

“North Carolina voters must pass the Voter ID Constitutional Amendment this fall to protect their right to vote from attempted fraud,” said Lewis. “Without Photo ID, catching this illegal behavior is far too difficult.”

A state Democratic Party official said a voter ID law would not prevent illegal voter registration.

“Republicans voter suppression amendment is like squashing a fly with a sledgehammer,” said NCDP spokesman Robert Howard. 

“The amendment is a blank check to allow partisan politicians to create new hurdles to the ballot box that will hurt seniors, veterans, young people, minorities, and others who are less likely to have an ID,” Howard said. “We can protect the sanctity of our elections while also making it easier to vote, not harder.”

Contact Ginger Livingston at glivingston@reflector.com or 252-329-9570.

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