5 On Your Side

Raleigh woman's absentee ballot never arrived, yet records show she voted

Posted October 27, 2020 5:40 p.m. EDT
Updated October 27, 2020 6:48 p.m. EDT

— After the absentee ballot that a Raleigh woman requested never showed up, she went to an early voting site but was told she’d already voted.

So, Suzy Bryant cast a provisional ballot and contacted 5 On Your Side with her concerns about possible voter fraud.

Wake County Board of Elections Director Gary Sims said his investigation proves the process in place to combat fraud works.

Because the signature of the voter who signed the Bryant's absentee ballot was hard to read, Sims tracked down the witness.

"It looks like maybe the post office may have dropped [the ballot] in a wrong mailbox," he said. "The actual voter [also] had requested an absentee ballot."

Bryant and the person who cast her absentee ballot are on the same mail route, Sims said, and the voter and the witness never checked the name and address sticker on the ballot.

This is the only complaint of its type so far this election, he said.

"We’ve had a couple of incidents where obviously a husband and wife may be voting together. The wife may sign the [ballot for the] husband or vice versa," he said.

With all of the evidence right now, Bryant's case doesn't point to fraud, he said.

Sims said the problem would have been caught even if 5 On Your Side hadn't asked about it, noting the error would have been flagged the moment Bryant’s provisional ballot was processed.

"It may be frustrating and it may be an extra step, but those extra steps are in there to make sure that your vote will count," he said.

The erroneous absentee ballot was disqualified, and the voter was informed to be able to vote a legitimate ballot.

Bryant said her case is reason for everyone to pay closer attention during the election.

"When two people are signing a ballot to vote for the president of the United States and our governor and everything else, I would think that someone would have seen that that was not their name," she said.

The State Board of Elections has set up the BallotTrax system for people to track their absentee ballot through request to mailing to acceptance.

Absentee ballots must be postmarked by Election Day, Nov. 3, to count. They also can be submitted in person at any early voting site until Saturday. They cannot be turned in at a polling site on Election Day, however.

Bryant said this was the first and last time she will request a ballot by mail.

"I will not ever do an absentee application voting again. I will always go in person," she said.

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