Misinformation, violence and a paper shortage threaten midterm elections, officials say

They came for the My Pillow guy, they stayed for conspiracy theories about voter fraud

On the eve of Tuesday’s primary, Surry County Commissioners welcomed a packed house of citizens in Dobson, worried about the next election.

My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell, a Trump loyalist known for spreading false election-related conspiracy theories, was listed prominently on the agenda as a speaker who would address “election integrity.”

My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

But Lindell was a no-show.

Instead, commissioners heard from David Clements, a former New Mexico State University college professor. Clements is no stranger to misinformation either. He lost his job at the university last fall after he refused to wear a mask on campus or get vaccinated against COVID-19. He has also publicly stated that he “stands with” Lin Wood — the controversial QAnon-linked, conspiracy theorist attorney.

“November 3, 2020 just didn’t make sense, and I want to plant the seed because the question you have to have for yourselves is, ‘What authority do we have to do anything?'” Clements began.

Clements told commissioners they had the authority to inspect and decline the adoption of  voting machines.

“The other question you’re going to have to wrestle with is your jurisdiction. The state election board, the county election board, and you all have concurrent jurisdiction. Y’all have different powers to check and balance one another, but at the end of the day, it’s the county that issues the certificate for those local elections,” said Clements.

The State Board of Elections has frequently decried (and taken multiple steps to debunk) unsubstantiated conspiracy theories concerning elections in North Carolina. A page on the board’s website is entitled “Combating Misinformation”; it reads in part:

Misinformation can lead to confusion and erode the public’s trust in elections. We aim to educate and serve as a trusted source of election information through our social media posts. View all of our “Mythbuster Monday” series posts at the Mythbuster Archive.

For trusted election information, follow the North Carolina State Board of Elections on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. To stay in the loop on recent press releases, election news, upcoming election dates, and deadlines, subscribe to our e-newsletter, Election Connection.

Mark Cook, a self-described “cybersecurity IT expert,” was the next to weigh in at Monday’s meeting. He told commissioners hackers and malware are making voting systems increasingly vulnerable. Read more

Five helpful tips for Tuesday’s primary

"Vote" pin

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It’s Primary Election Day across North Carolina with voters heading to the polls to select the candidates they would like to see move on to the November 8th general election.

Topping the ballot will be the closely watched U.S. Senate race, a rare open contest with the state’s  senior Sen. Richard Burr retiring.

Other races include U.S. House contests, the N.C. General Assembly, county commissions, district attorney and state and local judgeships.

Now here are five quick tips from the N.C. State Board of Elections to make voting today even easier:

  • Polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Election Day. Voters in line at 7:30 p.m. will be able to cast a ballot.
  • Find your Election Day polling place through the Voter Search or the Polling Place Search.Sample ballots are available through the Voter Search tool. Enter your first and last name to pull up your voter record, then scroll down to the “Your Sample Ballot” section.
  •  The State Board does not provide information about candidates for other contests, but some media outlets and advocacy groups do. Many candidates also have websites and social media accounts. Knowing your candidate choices in advance and being familiar with the ballot will help your voting experience go more quickly.
  • If you are voting by mail and have not returned your ballot, you may not return your ballot to a polling site on Election Day. You may mail your ballot back or return your ballot sealed inside the completed envelope in person to your county board of elections by 5 p.m. on Election Day.  If you mail your ballot on or before Election Day, you may not vote again in person.
  • Voters are not required to show photo ID to vote. See Voter ID for details.

If you still feel you need to do a little homework on candidates for the N.C. Supreme Court and N.C. Court of Appeals, a good starting point is the State Board’s Judicial Voter Guide: 2022 Primary Election.

You can find more helpful advice from the NC State Board of Elections here.

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