Former NC congressman registered to vote in home where he purportedly never stayed

Mark Meadows, who was chief of staff for former President Donald Trump, routinely supported false claims of mass voter fraud during the 2020 presidential election.

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Mark Meadows Voter Registration
Bryan Anderson
, WRAL state government reporter
RALEIGH, N.C. — Former U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, one of North Carolina’s most prominent political figures, is registered to vote using the address of a rental home. His former landlord says the Republican never lived there.

The revelation has raised questions about potential voter fraud and could prompt state and local officials to investigate. Meadows, who represented western North Carolina in Congress from 2013 to 2020 before vacating his seat to become former President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, is known for supporting false statements discrediting the 2020 presidential election.

In September 2020, Meadows registered to vote with 495 Mcconnell Rd. in Scaly Mountain as his residence, which is where he and his wife, Debbie, remain registered today, according to North Carolina State Board of Elections records and Macon County Board of Elections Director Melanie D. Thibault.

The western North Carolina mobile home is four miles north of the Georgia border.

The former owner of the Scaly Mountain home is an elderly, out-of-state resident who rented the place out to Meadows’ family in 2020 before selling it last summer to a different individual. The former owner said in a phone interview with WRAL News Monday that the congressman “never spent a night down there” and that Meadows’ wife only stayed for a night or two.

State law says voter registration applications must be accurate and that residency refers to “where you physically live.” A voter who purposefully provides inaccurate information could be subject to several months of jail time if found guilty.

Meadows didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment. Lawyers representing Meadows in a separate matter also didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The New Yorker magazine was the first to report on Meadows’ voter registration records.
Meadows, who has been one of the biggest skeptics of President Joe Biden’s legitimate 2020 electoral victory, is also involved in a lawsuit against a committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
On the 2020 campaign trail, Meadows made comments discrediting the mail-in voting process. Documents obtained through a public records request show Meadows asked for absentee ballots in 2016 and 2020 to be delivered to addresses in the Washington, D.C., area.
He wanted his 2020 ballot sent to an address in Alexandria, Virginia, the records show. Less than two weeks earlier, he registered with the Scaly Mountain home as his place of residence.

Voter fraud concerns

The New Yorker’s story has raised questions about whether Trump’s former top aide engaged in voter fraud by falsely listing a place of residence.

Under state law, a person is not considered to have gained a residence if they came for “temporary purposes only” and without the intention of making the place a “permanent place of abode.”

The term “residence” when referring to election law means “domicile.”

In 1972, the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled that “residence simply indicates a person’s actual place of abode, whether permanent or temporary. Domicile denotes one's permanent, established home as distinguished from a temporary, although actual, place of residence.”
Meadows is still listed to vote at an address he has never owned and that someone else purchased last year. State law appears to allow Meadows to remain registered so long as he left only temporarily with the intention of returning.

The former mobile home owner told The New Yorker that Meadows’ family never expressed an interest in buying the house, while the new owner, Ken Abele, told the magazine he found it “really weird” that Meadows listed the home as his place of residence.

Abele did not respond to WRAL's requests for comment.

North Carolina’s voter registration application requires voters seeking to update their registration or register for the first time to list their residential address, which is classified on the form as the place “where you physically live.”

The form informs new and prospective voters that it is a Class I felony under Chapter 163 of the General Statutes to “fraudulently or falsely” complete the form.

Class I felonies are the lowest-level felonies in North Carolina and can come with prison sentences of 3 to 12 months.

Avenues for investigation

The State Board of Elections has the authority to investigate potential election law violations and refer cases to prosecutors when it determines such steps are warranted.

The Macon County Board of Elections could also look into Meadows if it receives a complaint from one voter challenging Meadows’ voting address, though that challenger must provide “substantial proof” to support their claim.

“Challenges shall not be made indiscriminately and may only be made if the challenger knows, suspects or reasonably believes such a person not to be qualified and entitled to vote,” according to state law.

Michael Bitzer, a Catawba College political scientist, said he expects Meadows to see heightened public scrutiny since the former chief of staff routinely spread Trump’s false claims of mass voting fraud in the 2020 election.

“Certainly there will be some public questions raised about his willingness to advocate for unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud and now we have an allegation lodged against him for voter fraud,” Bitzer said.

He added, “This is a high-level, very visible allegation. It will need some thorough investigation to demonstrate is it valid, is it true and what is the response by former Rep. Meadows.”

Thibault, Macon County’s elections director, didn’t immediately share whether her department is taking action against Meadows.

Pat Gannon, a spokesman for the state elections board, said the department “investigates credible allegations of violations of election laws in North Carolina,” but doesn’t “generally comment on specific incidents or investigations, or whether a particular matter is being investigated.”