News, Voting

Voters falsely accused of fraud share stories, ask State Board of Elections for change

North Carolinians in 16 counties who were falsely accused of voter fraud last year by former Gov. Pat McCrory’s Campaign have asked the State Board of Elections to change its protest process.

When McCrory was losing the election last year, GOP lawyers recruited residents to file election protests against individuals accused of voting with a felony, voting in a deceased person’s name or voting in multiple states.

At least 85 voters were falsely accused and four are currently involved in a defamation lawsuit against the people who signed their protests.

Other voters who were falsely accused shared their stories with the Elections Board in a telephone conference Monday that was facilitated by the voting rights organization, Democracy North Carolina.

“I was literally shocked,” Betty B. Adams told Kim Strach, executive director of the Elections Board. “I was upset for several days.”

Joseph Golden described to Strach his surprise and frustration after seeing his name appear in Brunswick County newspapers and after reading someone’s social media post, “There’s a cheater amongst us.”

Anne Hughes of Moore County told Strach that she was “just incredulous” when she learned that she and her husband had been accused of voting in two states.

“I was shocked and horrified and furious to learn our name was on a list with people who were alleged to have broken a federal law,” she said.

Aysha Nasir of Orange County added, “You obey the law, you do all the stuff you’re supposed to, and then some person just randomly, without any burden of proof, can accuse you of breaking the law.”

Those voters and others presented Strach with a letter calling on the Elections Board to “(1) change the form for filing a protest complaint so it requires a presentation of evidence to support an allegation; and (2) create a process to hold accountable anyone who files a frivolous or negligent complaint or a pattern of repeated false complaints.”

You can read the full letter here.

You can listen part of the conference call where voters shared their shock and outrage over being falsely accused of voter fraud here.

Strach told the group that she appreciated hearing their statements, calling them “very powerful.” She said her staff was already working on possible revisions for the protest form and process, and she anticipated taking several recommendations to the five-member State Board of Elections at its next meeting.

One change she mentioned would require the protester to swear under penalty of perjury that the information in the form is true.

Bob Hall with Democracy NC said the organization is conducting a county-by-county investigation of the protests and their impact on innocent voters.

“Unfortunately, North Carolina is ground zero for witnessing the damage inflicted on honest voters and the elections system by inflated or bogus claims of voter fraud,” Hall said. “The testimony of the voters shows the real pain and harm caused by these irresponsible claims. Their stories also show that anybody can suddenly find themselves charged with a crime when voter fraud accusations are used as a political weapon.”

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