Wake County Leaves Some Voters Out in the Rain
Posted November 2, 1998
RALEIGH — Across North Carolina, there are hundreds of thousands more registered voters than two years ago, which means there is a greater risk that some voters ran into problems at the polls.
Many say they were inconvenienced by a program that was supposed to make voter registration more convenient.
The Wake County Board of Elections is always prepared for plenty of phone calls on an election day. Many calls come from voters who found out they were assigned to a different precinct this year.
"I only live less than three-tenths of a mile to this voting area, and yet they want me to go two more miles down the road," voter Denise Anderson said.
It is an even greater inconvenience when voters cannot find their name on the list of any precinct.
"They said, 'Well this is the place, but you're not on the list,'" voter Wil Canterbury said.
Canterbury remembers registering to vote with the Department of Motor Vehicles when he renewed his driver's license in July. He was told he could fill out a provisional ballot that would be counted if his claims checked out.
"I was on company time and that was going to take too long," Canterbury said. "I told them 'I've got to get back to work, I don't have time for this,' and so I basically left. I haven't voted."
Officials with the County Board of Elections say Canterbury is not alone.
"What could have happened is it could have not been mailed," says Connie Mitchell with the Wake County Board of Elections. "You know, we depend on the U.S. Mail to deliver our information here."
Officials with the Department of Motor Vehicles admit there are a few glitches in the three-year-old Motor Voter program but they see improvements.
"However, the situation is vastly improved," says DMV spokesperson John Park. "Two years ago we had 700 discrepancies, this year we're estimating we'll have less than 50."
Parks says the DMV is in the process of revamping its computer system to further reduce Motor Voter registration problems.