Forsyth board continues canvass amid recount request

Forsyth board continues canvass amid recount request
December 01
08:00 2016

Photo by Todd Luck



The Forsyth County Board of Elections (BOE) dismissed election protests and continued its canvass into this week as Gov. Pat McCrory has requested a statewide recount in his re-election contest.

Attorney General Roy Cooper leads McCrory by more than 9,800 votes as of press time. It’s a small enough margin to qualify for a recount, which McCrory requested last week. The recount will be done after the state completes its canvass. Forsyth, along with other counties, extended their canvasses to yesterday. The state must wait for all counties to finish their individual canvasses before doing its own.

“Staff spent a lot of time on its research … it’s not something that can be done quickly,” said Forsyth BOE member Stuart Russell about the work to verify the roughly 1,800 provisional ballots cast in Forsyth.

The McCrory campaign and the N.C. GOP have been alleging widespread voter fraud. Protests were filed in 52 out of 100 counties in the state, alleging dead people, felons and those who had already voted cast ballots.

The State Board of Elections (BOE) is appointed by the governor and, in turn, appoints members of county election boards. All BOEs in the state have majorities that reflect the governor’s political party, meaning they’re currently Republican controlled. Despite that, most have been unreceptive to the protests.

Forsyth BOE held a hearing on Tues, Nov. 21, for a protest filed by Forsyth GOP Vice Chair Linda Petrou, claiming two felons voted, which was dismissed when no one showed up for the hearing. Felons are prohibited from voting, but are allowed to register and vote if they completed all the terms of their sentence.

Four other protests never made it past a preliminary hearing. Two were protests also filed by Petrou. One claimed two ballots were cast for dead people. The other claimed that using printed tapes of results instead of the memory cards from five precincts on election night was improper. Though the memory cards should’ve been turned in on election night, they were later retrieved and staff confirmed they matched the information on the tapes. There was also a protest by Michael Brandon Jones claiming one voter returned an absentee ballot late.

Forsyth BOE continued its canvass on Tuesday, Nov. 21 by counting some absentee and provisional ballots. Lawyers associated with both gubernatorial campaigns were present to observe. During the meeting, there were seven instances of double votes, where it was believed someone voted using someone else’s identity. In each case, the board accepted the ballot it believed was cast by the actual voter and discounted the other one.

The board also announced last week that write-in mayoral candidate Jo Anne Allen got 3,150 votes. Mayor Allen Joines won that contest with 86,948 votes. Green Party Presidential Candidate Jill Stein received 444 votes in the county.

A hand recount done at two randomly chosen precincts found no discrepancies between the tabulated results and the marked ballots. There were 175,712 ballots cast in Forsyth County, which had a 68.59 percent voter turnout.

On Monday, the N.C. State BOE instructed county boards to dismiss any remaining voter eligibility protests unless they could affect the outcome of a race and to count votes dismissed because of protests after ruling the complaints had been filed too late. McCrory is also offering a deal for a recount in Durham County in place of a statewide recount, but the State BOE hadn’t issued a decision on that as of press time. If Cooper’s lead surpasses 10,000 votes, the race will no longer qualify for a recount.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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