Election protest filed claiming voter interference at Williston precinct

Published: Nov. 19, 2014 at 2:15 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 23, 2014 at 2:19 PM EST
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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - An election protest has been filed with the New Hanover County Board of Elections concerning the county commissioners race.

John Christian Anderson filed the protest alleging election officials at the Williston precinct interfered with voters, which impacted the integrity of the vote at that polling location.

The affidavit claims, "precinct officials did not regularly inspect the voting enclosures after each voter."

It goes on to say that sample ballots created by the New Hanover Democratic party were marked as if voting for candidates favored by the Democratic party were left in voting enclosures and voting booths, instead of being removed after each voter.

Anderson wrote in the protest that leaving sample ballots behind violates the following General Statues:

  • maintenance of order at place of registration and voting
  • interference with voters
  • maintain the reality and appearance of efficient, impartial and honest election administration at the precinct
  • ensure the process of voting assures dignity, good order and impartiality and the convenience and privacy of the voter
  • release of confidential information

Anderson also claims election materials from the Williston precinct were returned about one hour after all the other precincts had reported and returned the materials.

"The unexplained delay calls into question the integrity and accuracy of the vote totals for W29," Anderson wrote in the affidavit.

Derrick Hickey was in the lead for the second open commissioner seat on election night with only the Williston precinct needing to be counted. Democratic Candidate Rob Zapple ended up receiving 1,037 votes to Hickey's 71 in that precinct.

Hickey said Wednesday morning that he didn't know anything about the protest.

Adam Rogers, a Williston election judge, is listed as a witness in the protest, which says he saw marked sample ballots in voting booths.

Following the 2013 General Election, Rogers toldthe Board of Elections that another Williston official provided voters with too much help.

Rogers did not return a voicemail left Wednesday.

Board of Elections Chair John Ferrante cautioned against linking the new protest to last year's allegations.

"Whatever has happened in the past is in the past," he said. "We've addressed it through training and other things."

According to Board of Elections Director Marvin McFadyen, a preliminary hearing will be held Thursday to discuss the situation. They will determine if the protest was filed properly and if there's enough evidence of misconduct or irregularity at the precinct.

If they do find enough evidence, the board will have ten days to move forward with a hearing to investigate the claims.

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