Elections

NC GOP: ‘No apologies’ for voters mistakenly accused of fraud

NC Gov. Pat McCrory addresses the media during a news conference at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department headquarters on Thursday, September 22, 2016.
NC Gov. Pat McCrory addresses the media during a news conference at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department headquarters on Thursday, September 22, 2016. dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

Gov. Pat McCrory’s re-election campaign remained silent Monday on reports showing that election complaints included false accusations of voter fraud, but the N.C. Republican Party defended the complaints.

A number of the 43 voters accused of being ineligible felons turned out to be cases of mistaken identity. Several other voters accused were serving a misdemeanor sentence, which does not affect voting rights. Republican-led county elections board have dismissed the most of the inaccurate complaints.

The nonprofit Democracy North Carolina, which has urged McCrory to halt the protests, analyzed criminal records and found that 18 of the 43 – nearly half – were wrongfully accused of being felons ineligible to vote.

And in Guilford County, WXII News 12 reported last week that several voters there had been wrongly accused of voting in multiple states – including a 101-year-old World War II veteran who lives in a nursing home.

McCrory spokesman Ricky Diaz did not respond to inquiries about the reports last week.

But N.C. Republican Party executive director Dallas Woodhouse defended the complaints in a phone call to The News & Observer Monday.

“We have no apologies to make, and we will keep doing this,” Woodhouse said. “Nobody has been disenfranchised or, to my knowledge, inconvenienced.”

He added that it’s difficult to obtain records that don’t result in a few mistakes. “If the standard is that you have to be 100 percent correct or you can never raise a question, that is a standard that is unreasonably and can never be met,” he said.

With a tight margin in the governor’s race, the McCrory campaign assisted local Republican Party officials in filing dozens of complaints in counties across the state. It sent out several news releases touting the complaints.

Democracy North Carolina said in a news release that McCrory “and his allies are exposing themselves to charges of slandering voters.”

Asked Monday if the campaign planned to apologize to the voters named by mistake in the complaints, Diaz did not respond.

Governor Pat McCrory tells supporters that they will go through the process of checking everything, including provisional ballots, after his challenger Roy Cooper edged ahead by a slim margin late on election night.

 
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