Forsyth might get re-canvas of March vote

Bob Hall

Forsyth might get re-canvas of March vote
April 21
00:00 2016



Democracy North Carolina leaders and volunteers met with Forsyth Board of Elections Director Tim Tsujii on Tuesday, April 19, to discuss issues with the March 15 primary.

The topic of the meeting was the more than 130 provisional ballots that were rejected because of a lack of signature. Democracy NC Director Bob Hall said that there was an unusually high percentage of provisional ballots rejected in Forsyth.

Statewide, about 60 percent of provisionals were counted, while in Forsyth only 33 percent of the 962 provisional ballots counted. The program that was used to print out the provisional application slips failed to always print out the signature line and, though poll workers were trained to get a signature anyway, many failed to do so. Hall said that Forsyth was the only county that had this problem according to the State Board of Elections.

“As it happens in Forsyth County, African-American and Latino voters are 30 percent of the registered voters, but they were 61 percent of the voters who were tossed out for the lack of signatures; that’s very concerning to us,” said Hall.

Local Democracy NC organizer Linda Sutton called the list of discounted provisional voters a “travesty.” The voting rights organization is hoping Forsyth County does its canvas for the primary again and count the discounted ballots. Tsujii said that it’s possible the State Board of Elections, which is currently doing its own due diligence on the primary, may order the county to redo the canvas.

Regardless, Tsujii said that actions will be taken to prevent the problems from happening in the June 7 primary. He said that the program used to print out the provisional applications will not be used again and the BOE will use a manual process that he said will be easier and more efficient for poll workers. He said there will also be additional training for poll workers.

Deputy BOE Director Lamar Joyner, who also attended the meeting, said that the program had been used in several past elections, but the “overwhelming” amount of provisional ballots made the amount of errors much higher.

The provisional ballots in question were cast when a voter either wanted a ballot different than their registered party or were voting out of precinct. There were also nearly 200 provisional ballots with no signature for unregistered voters, but those wouldn’t have counted even with signatures. Hall said that voters who think they’re registered to vote in their county but actually aren’t is a statewide issue. Democracy NC is suing both the N.C. DMV and the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, which the group says is doing a poor job addressing problems with registering their clients and customers to vote.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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