RALEY, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s state elections commission on Tuesday found two local election officials in violation of state law for refusing to certify 2022 county results. I was dismissed after that.
The state commission unanimously voted to fire Surrey County election secretary Jerry Forestieri and commissioner Timothy DeHaan, a move taken against local officials across the country for delaying or refusing to recognize election results. It was one of the strongest disciplinary measures ever. The controversy over election authentication has engulfed most rural counties across the country as conspiracy theories about voting machines are widely circulated among conservatives.
Forestieri and DeHaan had questioned the legitimacy of state election laws and the court’s decision not to allow photo ID checks and voter residency challenges. In the letter, they falsely claimed that voting was “illegal” and “very uncertain”.
“These rulings have stripped the electoral process of the credibility it was designed to protect,” they wrote. It has been marred by a lack of trust in
The two circulated the letter last fall at a canvas meeting held by the county board of elections to certify the accuracy of the vote count. DeHaan eventually signed the certificate, but Forestieri did not.
State commission chairman Damon Thurcosta said Tuesday that county election officials cannot refuse to implement a state commission directive or court order if they disagree with it.
“Those who administer elections must follow the law as it is written, not the way they want it,” Chircosta said.
The then-Democrat-controlled North Carolina Supreme Court upheld a trial court ruling late last year that declared the 2018 voter ID law unconstitutional and tainted with racial bias.But the new Republican majority in the High Court chose it review the case Early this month.
Bob Hall, former executive director of Democratic North Carolina, a prominent voting rights group, filed a complaint with the state commission that prompted a hearing on Tuesday. He said the men’s refusal to accept the legitimacy of their state’s election laws directly contradicted their oath of office and their responsibility to perform their duties in accordance with those laws.
Election intrigues in recent years have undermined public trust, threat He opposed election officials in North Carolina and other states and urged efforts to ban voting machines entirely. It is also used by a small number of local authorities across the country to justify their refusal to certify election results, as is the case in Surrey County.
A displaced county official falsely claimed that the court’s ruling “protected egregious voter fraud” and increased the likelihood of “election theft.”
Last year, state officials in New Mexico had to obtain a court order to force state officials into the state. Otero County, the conservative community that endorsed former President Donald Trump with nearly 62% of the vote in 2020, to prove the results of the primary election. No commissioners were fired in New Mexico for refusing to certify results, state election officials said.
there is no evidence of pervasive fraud or operating voting equipment in the 2020 or 2022 elections.
Election experts fear that what happened last year could be a preview of what’s to come after the 2024 presidential election if candidates again refuse to concede.
Election officials have spent six years beefing up their cybersecurity defenses and adding equipment and testing to ensure election technology is protected. Many countries now use paper ballots, allowing records to be used to recalculate results in the event of manipulation or error.
Still, this has not stopped the spread of false claims by Trump and his allies. travel the country I met with local officials and held community forums focused on election intrigue.
Hannah Schoenbaum is a member of the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to cover hidden issues.
Associate Press writer Christina Cassidy contributed from Atlanta.