Wake County election officials said all voters in Tuesday’s election who’d been flagged as potential non-citizens proved to be recently naturalized – and fully eligible to vote.
On Oct. 24, the State Board of Elections said it found 1,425 registered voters in North Carolina who are “likely non-citizens” in an analysis of data from the state Division of Motor Vehicles and the federal Department of Homeland Security.
The state board flagged those voters for further review if any turned up at the polls Tuesday. The board created a process in which local election officials could file a challenge that would go to a hearing the same day.
In Wake, voters on the list were pulled aside and put on the phone with a county elections staffer. As of 5:30 p.m., all had been cleared to cast ballots, deputy elections director Gary Sims said.
After questioning the voters and reviewing their records, “we didn’t have anything that would be a legitimate basis for a challenge,” he said. “They were recently naturalized citizens.”
Sims said he doesn’t know how many flagged voters were reviewed Tuesday, but said he spoke with four or five people personally.
“We apologized because this list was not generated by counties,” he said. “I don’t know how they got on the list. I welcomed them to Wake County.”
More than 250 names were flagged on Wake’s voter rolls, and not all tried to vote Tuesday.
“Could there be people on the list (of eligible voters) who shouldn’t be on the list?” Sims said. “Absolutely there could.”
Josh Lawson, a spokesman for the State Board of Elections, said two people from the flagged list left when they were told that only citizens can legally vote.
“We think that this was mostly an education problem,” he said, adding that the state board hasn’t been informed of any formal challenges filed to voters on the list.