The Wake County Board of Elections on Friday rejected all but three of 27 challenges to ballots filed there. The protests are part of a statewide effort by Gov. Pat McCrory and the N.C. Republican Party to raise questions about the integrity of the Nov. 8 election.
The protests turned up one voter recently convicted of a felony and two voters who recently died. Those three votes won’t count.
But the three-member board, comprised of two Republicans and one Democrat, said there was not sufficient cause to hold an evidentiary hearing on allegations of duplicate voting. Republicans presented the board with a spreadsheet showing 22 people who might have voted in Wake County and in other states. That list was trimmed to 18, and ultimately rejected.
The vote was 2 to 1 to deny the protest, with Republican Eddie Woodhouse opposing denial, and Democrat Mark Ezzell and Republican Chairman Ellis Boyle voting yes.
Boyle said the vote didn’t mean the concerns weren't justified, only that it might be a decision for the State Board of Elections to consider. The denial could be appealed to the state.
Boyle said it wasn’t clear what the consequences would be of someone voting first in Wake County and then later in another state. It could be that the first vote would count and not the second; if that is the case then the county election board would have no jurisdiction, although it would likely be a criminal matter for law enforcement.
“It troubles me greatly to think that there might be people voting twice in this election, any election,” Boyle said.
Raleigh attorney Press Millen, representing Attorney General Roy Cooper, McCrory’s Democratic challenger, argued to the board that the GOP had to present more than just a spreadsheet in order to establish probable cause.
“There’s got to be more than a spreadsheet that comes from who knows where that doesn't have anybody to back it up,” Millen said.
The spreadsheet was put together from a commercial database, Roger Knight, representing Republican McCrory, told the board.
One of three people alleged to have voted in spite of being convicted felons was determined to have been recently convicted. Two other alleged felons turned out to have been identified as the wrong people.
Two more voters were discovered to have died after mailing in their ballots.
Cooper led McCrory by roughly 5,000 votes statewide but vote tallies were changing as counties considered challenges and determined which absentee and provisional ballots should count. Cooper added 2,000 votes to his margin in Wake County after the county elections board made preliminary decisions on absentee and provisional ballots Thursday and Friday.