Local News

Counties Clean Up Post-Election Voting Messes

Posted July 28, 2004

— An election nightmare in Warren County could drag on for months. An upgrade of the election database was supposed to make the process better. Instead, it purged the names of hundreds of eligible voters.

In the Warren County primary last week, the big news was not only who won -- but how many legally registered voters were turned away at the polls.

"I pulled out my permanent registration card from August 1976, and they said that didn't mean anything," registered voter Wayne Aycock said. "My name wasn't on the list."

Aycock could not believe what he heard. He is the chief of the Norlina Fire Department and a town commissioner. But Board of Elections records showed Aycock did not live where he said he did.

"We checked the address," he said. "They looked it up, and . . . I wasn't even on the books anywhere."

Aycock was allowed to cast a provisional ballot. The Board of Elections eventually verified his voter-registration information, so his vote counted.

Aycock's is one of 500 provisional ballots election officials are counting before they certify the vote.

The election trouble in Warren County started with a move to make people safer by updating their addresses with emergency officials.

"Something needs to be done before November," Aycock said.

The Warren County results became official Tuesday. A count of the provisional ballots did not change the outcome of any county race.

Halifax County, meanwhile, has its own election mess to cleanup. And it may take a special election to do it.

Voters were handed the wrong ballots in the County Commission's District 3 race. Results certified Tuesday gave Rachel Hux a lead of 48 votes. The State Board of Elections meets Monday to consider ordering a new election.

A recount is on the way in Wake County, as well, for one of the closest primary races. State House representative Rick Eddins of Raleigh beat his Republican challenger, David Robinson, by a mere 49 votes in District 40.

The results were certified Tuesday. Hours later, Robinson requested a recount. That will take place on Friday.

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