A former temporary elections worker in Granville County was arrested this week and charged with illegally accessing voter registration records and restoring voting privileges to 250 ineligible felons.
Joy Yvette Wilkerson, 41, of Henderson is facing multiple counts of fraudulently altering voter registrations, which is a felony charge.
According to a Granville County Sheriff’s Department report, the county’s Board of Elections discovered the fraudulent activity last June and contacted law enforcement. The report says Wilkerson accessed the county’s voter registration database and restored – or tried to restore – active voting status to 250 convicted felons who had been removed from voter rolls while they served their sentence.
North Carolina law bans convicted felons from voting while serving an active sentence – in prison or on probation – but their rights are restored after their sentence is complete.
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A State Board of Elections spokesman said Wilkerson was hired on a temporary basis in late 2015 through a staffing agency to help Granville County prepare for the presidential election. The county’s election director discovered the problem in June 2016 and “quickly notified the State Board of Elections, which investigated the matter and recently sent a full report about the case to the district attorney’s office for Granville County for possible prosecution.”
“The Granville County Board of Elections and State Board of Elections office worked together to ensure that improper changes made by the worker were corrected in the voter registration database before the general election,” State Board of Elections spokesman Patrick Gannon said Wednesday.
Wilkerson was taken to the Granville County jail and released on a $14,000 bond. Her next court appearance is set for April 17.
The state Republican Party late Wednesday said the charges against Wilkerson showed that protections against voter fraud are needed.
“Incidents like these prove that attempts to encourage illegal voting, violate the law, and manipulate our voting process do exist and must be countered,” party chairman Robin Hayes said in a statement.
The voter registration incident wasn’t the only election problem reported in Granville County last year. In October, poll workers forgot to lock up an early voting site, leaving equipment and ballots unsecured overnight.