Voter fraud complaints issued in Hoke County

A sample ballot for North Carolina's House District 50 is seen in a photo illustration as early voting for the 2016 general elections begins in the state

RAEFORD, N.C. —Two complaints alleging a Democratic Party organizer in Hoke County signed up nursing home residents in the county for absentee ballots they did not request have gone to the North Carolina Board of Elections for investigation.The Hoke County Board of Elections received two complaints, one from former Hoke County Republican Party Chairman Hal Nunn, and the other from local businessman Cliff Overby. In one complaint, Nunn notes his mother, Barbara Nunn, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and is a resident at the Autumn Care Nursing Home, was signed up to receive an absentee ballot for the election on Nov. 8. “I am the power of attorney for my mother, and I can tell you she doesn’t know the day of the week, year or the names of the people running for office,” said Nunn. “I think we have fraud here.” Under his own suspicion, Nunn asked the Board of Elections for a copy of the ballot filled out for his mother. “My mother is 83 and has shaky handwriting,” Nunn said. “In very neat handwriting, at the top of the ballot, my mother’s name was written. She’s a registered Republican and her ballot had been checked for Democrat. Even her address had been changed to reflect the nursing home. They have taken advantage of my mom.” The Hoke County Board of Elections records show that an absentee ballot request form for the individual was mailed to the board. The ballot request form contains a box where people requesting an absentee ballot for a primary election, and who are registered as unaffiliated with a political party, can check which ballot they want to receive — Democratic, Republican, Libertarian or nonpartisan. On the absentee request ballot filed for Nunn’s mother, the Democratic box was checked though the ballot was requested for the general election. The second complaint, filed by Overby, noted that while responding to a client who operates a senior living center known as Open Arms, he was reportedly told a woman came in and identified herself as being with the Hoke County Democratic Party. “The woman left a business card stating she was Wanda Blue, the community organizer, with the Hoke County Democratic Party,” said Nunn. “We only received two complaints and our board voted to send these complaints to the State Board of Elections for review,” said Caroline Shook, director of the Hoke County Board of Elections. “These were absentee ballot request forms from nursing homes that were not properly signed — some were signed and some were not signed by the voter.”The Hoke County Board of Elections voted two to one in their last meeting in favor of sending the complaints to the state for further investigation. “We follow all policies and procedures set forth by the State Board of Elections,” said Shook. Shook added that traditionally the elections staff would mobilize Multipartisan Assistant Teams (MATS) to visit nursing homes in the county and assist residents with completing absentee ballots; however, the nursing homes had not requested the teams visit this year. Patrick Gannon, public information officer with the North Carolina Board of Elections, said, “We have received the complaint and the matter is under investigation.” Further details could not be offered at this stage of the investigation.