New details on voter fraud indictments in Brunswick Co.

Convicted felons, illegal aliens accused of voting
The Voter Registration Applications warns applicants they cannot vote while still on probation or parole
Published: Feb. 16, 2022 at 1:06 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - WECT has learned that the felony indictments just handed down by a Brunswick County Grand Jury against eight people accused of voter fraud were the result of routine screening by county election officials to ensure the integrity of the voting process.

Brunswick County Director of Elections Sara LaVere says after elections conclude, her office regularly cross references the list of people who voted with other databases, such as the North Carolina Department of Corrections offender list. After the 2020 election, when running those checks, her office discovered individuals who appeared to be either convicted felons still on probation or parole, or undocumented immigrants who do not have the right to vote.

The county board forwarded that information to the State Board of Elections. State investigators looked into the concerns, and confirmed that the individuals in question were not eligible to vote. They are now facing felony charges for Swearing Falsely in a Primary or General Election.

Authorities have only released copies of three of the eight voter fraud indictments so far, because they are still trying to serve the rest. Of the three names released, all are convicted felons.

Adam Tate, 29, of Ash was convicted for Armed Robbery in 2014, and served more than five years in prison. His criminal record also includes convictions for Felony Breaking and Entering at a House of Worship in 2012, and misdemeanor drug charges in 2010. He was released from prison in 2019, but was still on parole in 2020.

Johnny McDonald, 66, of Leland served time for a number of felony drug offenses. His most recent conviction was in February of 2020 for Possession of a Schedule II drug, and he received probation following that conviction. Other charges on his lengthy record include Assault on a Policeman and Resisting an Officer.

Amy Keel, 49, of Reigelwood was also indicted for voter fraud. Her record includes a 2019 felony conviction on felony drug charges which earned her probation. Prior to that, she had a number of misdemeanor convictions for Obtaining Property by False Pretenses.

LaVere says convicted felons in North Carolina can have their voting rights restored, but not until after their probation or parole has concluded.

The family of a fourth man indicted for voter fraud told WECT that he received a mailer prompting him to register to vote. LaVere says her office does not send out mass mailings recruiting residents to register, but that during the election cycle, third parties do send those out to people throughout the county. This family says their son assumed he was allowed to register because he received the mailer, and he didn’t realize it was against the law.

The voter registration application warns applicants that “FRAUDULENTLY OR FALSELY COMPLETING THIS FORM IS A CLASS I FELONY UNDER CHAPTER 163 OF THE NC GENERAL STATUTES.” The fine print below that warning specifically asks applicants if they have been convicted of a felony, and if they have “completed [their] sentence, including any probation, post-release supervision or parole.”

The North Carolina Board of Elections released the following statement following the voter fraud indictments:

“We want to remind the public that incidents of unauthorized voting are neither widespread nor nonexistent. The North Carolina State Board of Elections has a dedicated Investigations Division with trained, experienced staff who are required by law to investigate credible allegations of violations, fraud, and irregularities in elections and refer cases to prosecutors when warranted by evidence. These Brunswick County cases are examples of this work. All other questions about these cases should be directed to the District Attorney’s Office. For additional information on the State Board Investigations Division, please see here: https://www.ncsbe.gov/about-elections/election-security/investigations-division.”

It is unclear whether the votes cast by the individuals in question were counted. While the people indicted are accused of voting as far back as the 2020 presidential election, LaVere said some of them may have voted more recently, and the State Board simply handed over all of its findings at one time, recommending they be prosecuted by the Brunswick County District Attorney’s Office.

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