State Board of Elections instructs local boards to dismiss McCrory protests challenging voter eligibility

The State Board of Elections has instructed all local boards to dismiss all protests filed by Gov. Pat McCrory’s campaign “that merely disputes the eligibility of a voter.”

The announcement was made late Monday night and an order was published with further instructions.

A protest alleging the occurrence of an election law violation that affected votes sufficient in number to change the outcome of a single-county contest concerns the manner in which votes were counted or tabulated, and therefore such protest must be resolved prior to county canvass as required by [the law]. A protest that does not allege an election law violation regarding a sufficient number of votes to change the outcome of a single-county contest shall not delay the county canvass procedures since the county may not retrieve and discount such ballots. In no case shall the county board delay the timely hearing and decision on a protest timely filed.

Local elections boards are to consider claims disputing a voter’s eligibility as voter challenges instead of protests. If a local board finds a violation occurred that did not affect enough ballots to change the outcome of any single-county contest, it is instructed to forward its findings to the State Board, according to the order.

No county board may retrieve and discount a ballot cast by an unqualified voter unless a challenge was timely brought under Article 8, or the State Board or a county board has found that ineligible voters participated in numbers sufficient to change the outcome of the election.

The order goes on to state that local boards must preserve the due process rights of all voters, including adequate notice and a meaningful opportunity to be heard.

Democratic challenger Roy Cooper is leading Republican McCrory in the state’s gubernatorial race by more than 9,600 votes, but the current governor’s campaign has raised allegations of voter fraud and has asked for a recount of ballots in Durham.

The State Board will meet at 4 p.m. Wednesday to hear the recount request.

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