State Board grants petition to remove McFadyen as NHC elections director

State Board grants petition to remove McFadyen as NHC elections director

RALEIGH, NC (WECT) - The North Carolina State Board of Elections has granted the petition by the New Hanover County Board of Elections to terminate director Marvin McFadyen.

Deputy Director Amy E. Strange ruled on the petition and said her decision was based solely on the Jan. 7 petition and McFadyen's response.

Strange writes, "It is my decision that the Petition contains just cause for termination, and the Petition for removal is granted."

Strange's decision largely focused on the accusation by the county board that McFadyen didn't properly flag emails containing sensitive voter information as confidential, which then ended up on the county's public email server.

McFadyen's response claimed that it was Elections Supervisor Derek Bowens' responsibility to process those absentee ballots. Strange cites New Hanover County's policy that only e-mails of department heads or higher are required to be available for public disclosure and it would be McFadyen's responsibility to appropriately flag items in his inbox.

"The failure of Mr. McFadyen to protect confidential voter information, including voted ballots, from being displayed for public view constitutes an inexcusable breach of public trust and leads to a lack of confidence in the elections process," Strange writes.

The petition then says McFadyen received training from the state board regarding his obligations to receive and protect ballots and personal information submitted to him electronically. "His failure to follow State and federal laws and county policies in this matter in order to protect New Hanover County voters' rights to privacy support the Petition for termination," Strange writes.

The decision then touches on the county board's doubts that McFadyen can or will be truthful in his communications with the board, the county, or others. Among the examples that county board provide in the petition, Strange says the most egregious was McFadyen's communications with the county board after the revelation that the confidential emails were exposed to public view.

Strange concludes, "Providing false or misleading information regarding a serious breach of State and federal laws constitutes just cause for termination."

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