JoAnne Allen switches to write-in candidacy

JoAnne Allen

JoAnne Allen switches to write-in candidacy
August 11
07:45 2016



JoAnne Allen ended her bid to be an unaffiliated candidate for mayor and will now be running as a write-in candidate.

In order to get on the ballot as an unaffiliated candidate, Allen needed 6,037 petition signatures, which is four percent of registered voters in Winston-Salem, by Aug. 10. Petitions provided by the N.C. State Board of Elections require voters to give their name, address, date of birth and signature. That information is then checked against voter registration records to make sure the signers are registered to vote in the jurisdiction of the contest. Allen said she had gotten more than 8,000 signatures, but didn’t turn them all in. She said she decided to go with a write-in candidacy instead because the Forsyth County Board of Elections incorrectly discounted many signatures.

“If they didn’t do their job, then why would I have faith in them to come and do the next 3,500 correctly when I submitted three (thousand) and they took over one thousand signatures from me?” asked Allen.

According to Forsyth BOE Director Tim Tsujii, out of 3,636 submitted signatures, 2,501 signatures were verified as valid before the process was halted after Forsyth BOE received a letter from Allen terminating her unaffiliated effort on July 25. Tsujii said that many didn’t count because they weren’t registered or lived outside of Winston-Salem. He said staff reverified discounted signatures that Allen questioned and reversed their decision on about 160 signatures that were determined to be valid voters. During its public meetings, Tsujii had the three-member Forsyth BOE look over disputed voter signatures that staff determined didn’t match the signature on their voter registration and the board ruled some were valid.

Tsujii estimated that close to 3,000 out of the 3,636 signatures would have counted if the verification process hadn’t ended. He said Allen had turned in an additional 2,000 signatures last month that weren’t processed before she ended her unaffiliated bid.

In her withdrawal letter, Allen accused the Forsyth BOE of “negligent handling” of the petitions and giving her “misinformation.”   During an interview with The Chronicle last week, she said she believed the mistakes to be intentional, accusing BOE staff of bias.

Tsujii denied these accusations.

“It was clerical human error, but nothing of negligence or intentional mishandling,” said Tsujii.

Tsujii said 10 different BOE staff, including temporary workers, spent hundreds of man hours entering the information on petitions into computerized modules provided by the State BOE for verification.  He said staff followed statute and direction from the State BOE, which Tsujii consulted throughout the process. Tsujii and local board members have said repeatedly in meetings they tried to be as fair and transparent as possible in the process.

Though Allen filed a form for a write-in candidacy, mayor is a position that always has a write-in blank for voters to write in whoever they like.

Allen said that she chose to run as unaffiliated because she believes voters shouldn’t follow political parties, and instead look at who is the best person for the job.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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