Yet another absentee ballot controversy–this time in state House 103

Charlotte Observer reports the N.C. Values Coalition is urging North Carolina House officials not to seat incoming state Rep. Rachel Hunt, a Democrat who defeated incumbent Republican Bill Brawley by 68 votes in the House District 103 race.

You guessed it—the coalition is citing absentee ballot irregularities. In a statement coalition Executive Director Tammi Fitzgerald said:

“The State Board of Elections committed malfeasance when it instructed county boards of elections to ignore the law clearly requiring absentee by mail voters to mark and affirm their ballots in the presence of two witnesses or a notary. At least 300 voters improperly marked and affirmed their ballots in HD-103 and NC-9 and many other ballots were improperly or illegally cast. Many voters and witnesses involved in these irregularities have signed sworn affidavits. Proper application of the law could result in Bill Brawley’s re-election to HD103 and almost certainly would have increased Mark Harris’ lead in NC9. Given these improprieties, the negligence of the now-defunct board of elections, and the clear conflicts of its past two chairmen, it is clear that the board mishandled these two elections and who knows how many others. The State House of Representatives should follow the lead of the United States House of Representative and decline to seat Rachel Hunt until it has thoroughly investigated this matter and determined which candidate won the most legal votes. The results of every close election in the State should be in question.”

Here’s the bottom line–the House 103 District falls within the 9th Congressional District which–in case you’ve missed it–has been the subject of investigation over absentee ballot irregularities. With that in mind, the coalition’s sister organization, the Institute for Faith & Family, did its own investigation and found that Mecklenburg County had “anomalous utilization of absentee by mail ballots,” just as in Bladen County, which is the focus of allegation in the 9th Congressional District. The IFF found several irregularities in absentee ballot voting in Mecklenburg, including “one particularly disturbing case” where “a voter who moved to New York City 5 years ago, requested an absentee ballot disclosing on the request form that she no longer lived at the address at which she was registered in Matthews, and yet the voter received an absentee ballot and voted in the 2018 general election.”

Will the protest by the N.C. Values Coalition and the investigation by the IFF have any legs? We’ll see. But I’ll go ahead and speculate that this will be portrayed as sour grapes on the part of Republicans by liberal both in mainstream and social media.

Sam Hieb / Contributing Editor

Sam Hieb is freelance journalist from Greensboro, North Carolina. He is a contributing editor for Carolina Journal and for Piedmont Publius, a blog that focuses on political a...

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