More voter challenges filed with elections board

Published 10:11 pm Thursday, October 13, 2016

Beaufort County’s Board of Elections meets at 5 p.m. today to conduct a preliminary hearing on more voter challenges filed with the board earlier this week.

“We’re now up to 102,” said Kellie Harris Hopkins, the county’s elections director, on Thursday. “There are three other batches of them.”

Asked if the board would be able to process all the voter challenges before the election, Hopkins said, “I don’t think we have a choice. This is the most inconvenient time that they can be filed because the deadline to actually file them is (today). They have to be filed within 25 days of the election. So, the challengers have left us little time to deal with this.”

Earlier this month, Shane Hubers challenged the right of 29 voters in Belhaven to vote, register to vote or remain registered to vote in the upcoming Nov. 8 general election. On Oct. 7, the elections board conducted a preliminary hearing on those challenges. The board has scheduled a full hearing on 21 challenges. During the Oct. 7 meeting, the board dismissed six of the challenges because those six voters are no longer registered to vote in Beaufort County, and Hubers withdrew two of the challenges Friday.

Earlier this month, Hopkins explained that Hubers’ challenges stem from a mailing by Ricky Radcliffe’s campaign about a year ago. Radcliffe was a mayoral candidate in Belhaven in 2015, but he lost to Mayor Adam O’Neal. Those mailings were returned to Radcliffe’s campaign because the people mailed the items no longer live at the location where the mailings were addressed to or the mailings were unable to be forwarded, according to Hopkins.

Under North Carolina law, a returned mailing can be used as prima facie evidence that someone no longer lives at that address, Hopkins reminded the board Oct. 7.

In other election-related matters, traditional voter registration for the general election ends today, but eligible residents may use the same day-registration opportunity to register during the early voting period that begins Thursday and ends Nov. 5 at 1 p.m.

Hopkins said the effects of Hurricane Matthew, including post-storm flooding this week, would not interfere with the opening of the early voting period next week. “We have contacted all of our polling places, both one-stop and Election Day, and, other than a couple of them saying they had a minor roof leak, there’s no damage to any of our polling places,” she said.


About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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