Fact check: Bishop falsely accuses election officials of 'grossly improper conduct'
U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop (R-North Carolina) says he's seen "indications of grossly improper conduct from election officials right here in my district." Bishop was referring to Anson County, where people have complained about the behavior of campaign volunteers.Posted — Updated
President Trump says he might lose the election because of fraud.
And a couple of his supporters in North Carolina say they believe the unproven claims about fraud could be true. U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop, a Republican who represents a southern swath of the state, says he’s seen hints of wrongdoing in his own district.
“Well, I’m echoing the President’s claims. Indications of grossly improper conduct from election officials right here in my district,” part of his Nov. 5 tweet said.
Is it true that there are “indications of improper conduct from election officials” in his district?
These claims were investigated and addressed. But the actions in question were done by a candidate and his campaign volunteers -- not election officials.
A quick summary
“As soon as I pulled up and exited my vehicle a campaign worker came up to me and forced me to vote for Dannie Montgomery and told me not to vote Greg Eudy (the unaffiliated candidate). As a first time voter I felt it wasn’t fair to me,” the voter said in the complaint.
Bishop has tweeted about the Anson County allegations several times.
On Oct. 29, Bishop tweeted a video of the alleged campaign volunteer in question. On Nov. 1, Bishop tweeted a letter that he sent to top state and Anson County election officials. He asked them to produce video showing the campaign worker’s actions while inside the polling site.
The same day, the North Carolina Republican Party sent a letter to Sherry Melton, director of the Anson County election board.
The NC GOP noted that there had been 18 incident reports about Montgomery and her supporters. The party asked for the alleged rule-breakers to be banned from the polling site.
The Anson board investigated complaints about the campaign volunteers, said Clarke, the board’s temporary assistant director. She spoke to PolitiFact by phone on Nov. 10. Complaints filed after the Oct. 23 meeting were “unfounded,” she said.
“We looked into each one of them,” Clarke said. She added: No election officials were found to have committed any misconduct.
The distinction between campaign volunteers, who greet people outside polling sites, and actual election officials, who conduct elections and count ballots, is an important one.
We pointed out to Bishop’s office that his tweet omitted this key context and asked if Bishop is aware of any direct misconduct by Anson County election officials.
Hummelberg, the spokeswoman, said the congressman is “just suggesting” that the county elections officials have been “permitting” campaign workers to “buttonhole voters in the buffer zone, accompany them into the voting enclosure and into the voting booth, and to direct them how to vote.”
As we mentioned: the county and state boards addressed the complaints — just not in a manner that Bishop or the state GOP might have preferred. Anson officials held an emergency meeting, issued warnings and investigated the complaints,while the state elections board issued a press release.
Bishop said there are “indications of grossly improper conduct from election officials right here in my district.” His spokeswoman cited complaints about campaign volunteers outside a polling place.
Complaints were filed against Anson County campaign volunteers accusing them of trying to coerce people into voting a certain way. And Bishop thinks local election officials didn’t do enough to stop campaign volunteers from improperly assisting voters with their ballots.
But the North Carolina elections board says it’s not aware of any direct misconduct by Anson County election officials. We rate this claim False.
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