Dunn Councilwoman On Trial For Voter Fraud
Posted March 14, 2002
SMITHFIELD, N.C. — Jury selection is under way in Johnston County where a member of the Dunn City Council will stand trial for voter fraud.
The case against Carolyn McDougal is being heard in Johnston County instead of Harnett County because of pretrial publicity.
McDougal is charged with 16 felony counts of absentee ballot violations stemming from activities during her 1999 re-election campaign. She is accused of fraudulently receiving absentee ballots and returning them to the county elections board with forged signatures.
On Monday, McDougal's attorney tried, but failed, to get the case dismissed.
The defense said that McDougal is being unfairly singled out and that a state investigation uncovered more than 100 problems with ballots in Harnett County.
"To select one person to prosecute in a whole slew of other people who had committed the exact same violations to me calls into integrity elections in North Carolina," said Melissa Siebert of the Southern Rights Voting Project.
McDougal, the town's first black councilwoman, is not expected to face jail time if convicted. It is expected that she will be placed on probation and would have to step down from the City Council.