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Easy to find flaws in NC chief justice's effort to protest election results

Posted November 18, 2020 7:45 p.m. EST
Updated November 18, 2020 9:48 p.m. EST

— Facing defeat if a recount doesn't shift a few hundred votes in her direction, North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley and her campaign have filed protests in almost every county statewide, alleging that thousands of votes that should have been counted in the recent election were not.

After county canvasses were completed this week, Beasley trailed Republican Justice Paul Newby by 406 votes out of nearly 5.4 million cast in the race, according to unofficial results. A recount in the race that her campaign requested will be completed by next Wednesday.

The protest filed by Beasley and the North Carolina Democratic Party claims that about 2,000 provisional ballots and mailed absentee ballots were wrongly rejected in 90 counties and not counted.

The 76-page affidavit accompanying the protest listed the ballots in question, but it wasn't difficult to find problems with it in our look at just a handful of ballots listed in Wake County.

Garner resident Starr Goins was upset to hear that Beasley's protest said her ballot was rejected. The affidavit stated that her address – a newly built home – wasn't recognized by the county elections office.

"I did not know that. To find that out was very disheartening and frustrated," Goins said Wednesday. "I had a conversation with my children, you know, being that I am an African-American woman and how hard we had to fight to vote."

But Goins's ballot, and two others WRAL News found listed in the affidavit as rejected were actually counted, according to Wake County elections director Gary Sims.

WRAL News cross-checked the addresses of six other "Wake County" voters listed in the affidavit with county property tax records. All six actually live at addresses outside Wake County, making them ineligible to vote in Wake County.

The Beasley campaign didn't respond to a request for comment.

Wayne Goodwin, chairman of the state Democratic Party, said the party's data team put together the affidavit, looking for what they believed to be potentially eligible votes.

"If there was some error made there, then we're glad that the ballot was counted," Goodwin said. "Whatever the data team provides, if there are ballots that should have been accepted by lawfully eligible voters, then we request that those ballots be accepted."

Goins, a registered Democrat, said she didn't appreciate the false alarm from her own party. She was delighted to hear that the affidavit was wrong and her vote did count, after all.

"I think there needs to be more research, more information looked into, before that information’s given out to someone," she said.

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