The “re-do” election for Washington County Sheriff was held on Tuesday, May 24, 2011. Unofficially, the incumbent (James Ross), won with 2,190 votes to the challenger’s (David Hassell), 2,065 votes. There was a four vote difference between the candidates in the November 2, 2010 General Election.
In a teleconference on February 25, 2011, the State Board of Elections acknowledged that there were sufficient irregularities to taint the results of the election and ordered a new election.
The 2010 Washington County sheriff’s election is a good example of how the State Board of Elections avoids investigations into apparent voter fraud, thus perpetuating the myth that there is no voter fraud in North Carolina.
As soon as the Board of Elections called for a new election all hope for “getting to the bottom” of the accusations and evidence of voter fraud in Washington County was lost. After the new election was ordered, the State Board of Elections began to explain away the evidence of fraud as only administrative error.
While there were serious administrative problems in the election for Washington County sheriff, such as the denial of assistance to voters with disabilities, absentee ballots mailed to wrong addresses and duly registered voters having been removed from the official voter registration list, there were many more egregious violations discovered by Greg Hassell in his investigation into the November 2010 election.
Mr. Hassell’s evidence contained testimony from voters, poll workers and staff from the Roanoke Development Center. Also included in the evidence Mr. Hassell was prepared to present in a scheduled hearing that was cancelled by the State Board of Elections, were examples of intimidation and fraud such as:
A missing ballot that was found 27 days after Election Day (voted for Hassell),
Voters told to vote a straight Democratic ticket,
Voters told that their provisional ballots would not count,
Absentee/OneStop votes were cast and counted in the names of the four individuals who were deceased at the time of the vote,
Residents of the Roanoke Development Center were given unsolicited and unwanted assistance to vote and according to Hassell, “the votes cast on behalf of the eleven handicapped voters by unauthorized person or persons did not reflect the expressed choice or the will of the voters.”
Hassell went on to reveal that the Roanoke Development Center was operated by Dr. Zebedee Taylor, the Chairman of the Washington County Democratic Party.
It is evident, that without a proper hearing, the citizens of North Carolina will never know what really happened in Washington County during the November 2010 General Election. And, after another “close call,” the State Board of Elections can now resume their claim that all is well with elections in North Carolina because we have so few “substantiated” cases of voter fraud.