Local Politics

Some disputed Morrisville ballots might count

Posted December 22, 2011

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— Wake County elections officials will hold a hearing next month to determine whether to count eight absentee ballots in a tight race for Morrisville Town Council.

A recount in the race found that challenger Michael Schlink leads three-term incumbent Linda Lyons by two votes, 681-679.

Protests were filed over 11 absentee ballots that the elections board had disqualified. Three of the ballots were illegally witnessed by Lyons, who could face misdemeanor charges, and the others were received after the deadline.

Lyons witnessed five absentee ballots, and also tried to vote on Election Day after casting an absentee ballot herself. She told supporters that she didn't know the law regarding witnessing ballots, and she also reportedly told poll workers that she forgot she had already voted.

Wake County elections officials declined all of the protests, which were appealed to the State Board of Elections.

The state board on Thursday denied the protests on the three ballots witnessed by Lyons. Attorneys for the voters had argued that the ballots should be counted because the voters weren't aware of state law prohibiting candidates from acting as witnesses on absentee ballots.

"Voting is a fundamental right, and you are denying someone the right to vote if they had no knowledge of that violation," said Michael Weisel, one of the attorneys for the Morrisville voters.

The state board sent the other eight absentee ballots back to Wake County elections officials for more study.

State Board of Elections meeting Morrisville council race remains up in air

Although the ballots were submitted after the 5 p.m. deadline on the day before the election, the board ruled, they came in within a three-day window after the election in which absentee ballots from military members are counted.

Four of the eight ballots were postmarked before the election, while the other four don't have a postmark.

"Whether there is a postmark or not a postmark on a ballot shouldn't have anything to do with whether the votes in fact get counted," Weisel said.

Wake County elections officials will contact the four voters whose absentee ballots weren't postmarked to see if they remember when they mailed their ballots, said Cheri Poucher, director of the Wake County Board of Elections.

After meeting in mid-January to review the ballots and applicable law, Poucher said, the county board should have a decision by the end of January on whether to count the disputed ballots.

"They really are charged with, when they take that oath of office, upholding and following all procedures and directives set out by the state board," she said of her board members.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • sunshine1040 Dec 23, 2011

    she commited a felon and should not be allowed to hold office so there is no need to count those votes

  • Rebelyell55 Dec 23, 2011

    They desire her if she get the vote and put in office.

  • ezLikeSundayMorning Dec 23, 2011

    After the deadline is after the deadline. If those voters are in the military, count them (because they were in that window), otherwise they don't count.

  • warbirdlover Dec 23, 2011

    JLP you are 100% wrong. Who don't have some form of ID. You cant even conduct everyday business without an ID. This is just a ploy by the Democrats for just stuff like this, double voting, convicted felons voting, voting in different districts, Illegal Aliens voting and the list goes on and on. I want to see all these people whom has never had any form of ID. They just don't exsist.

  • jlp Dec 23, 2011

    Wrong again. Voter ID would not have made a difference in this case. And I might add that her fraudulent double voting was caught with the existing voting laws. The GOP is just trying to sell you a solution without a problem. They worked the numbers and found out that if they could pull this off they could greatly reduce the number of opposition voters. Sounds fairly disingenuous to me. What should make you more afraid is that your NC GOP could not even come up with their own ideas and are merely pushing a nation wide GOP agenda handed to them by ALEC. If you are for strong state's rights, entities like ALEC pushing nation wide agendas on state legislatures should make you afraid. The purpose of individual states is that each state can govern according to the will of its constituents. If cookie cutter legislation is pushed on all states, it kind of weakens states rights don't you think?

  • eoglane Dec 22, 2011

    This is why we need to produce ID to Vote. However if i voted early i sure would not forget something like that. Just another CROOK.

  • sunshine1040 Dec 22, 2011

    Did she ever hear that ignorance of the law is no excuse. sorry illegal is still illegal no they do not count

  • My3centsworth Dec 22, 2011

    I forgot that I voted; I forgot that I am required to know the law but it's ok because I'm a minority whatever. Yep, that's who I want working in my best interests, another dumb crook! Someone needs to send a message here that this conduct will not be tolerated but I'll bet it won't happen.

  • lonewolf2735 Dec 22, 2011

    Let me guess. She's a democrat AND she is against I.D. to vote. If she can't remember whether or not she already voted, she certainly has no business in public office. We already have enough that can't remember.

  • Wendellcatlover Dec 22, 2011

    "Attorneys for the voters had argued that the ballots should be counted because the voters weren't aware of state law prohibiting candidates..."

    Sorry, but ignorance of the law is not a valid excuse.