As investigation into false signatures continues, Green Party sues State Board of Elections
RALEIGH, N.C. (WITN) - The State Board of Elections says its investigation into suspected fraudulent signatures gathered for the Green Party’s bid for recognition in North Carolina has been obstructed by a lack of cooperation.
SBE Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell says the refusal of consultants and signature collectors to cooperate with investigators has hindered the investigation, as investigators try to collect the number of suspected fraudulent signatures submitted by the Green Party.
WITN reported on June 30th that the SBE voted (3-2) not to recognize the Green Party as an official political party in North Carolina due to an ongoing investigation into evidence of fraud and other irregularities in the petition process used to seek ballot access for the party.
In response, Green Party Senate candidate Matthew Hoh and fellow plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the SBE, saying the party submitted 2,000-plus verified signatures more than required by law, and “the denial of this legitimate petition left the campaign and supporters stunned and outraged.”
We’re told the complaint was filed by lead attorney Oliver Hall of the Center for Competitive Democracy, with other plaintiffs being the Green Party itself, and campaign supporters of Hoh who circulated or signed the petition.
“We are fighting for our democracy against this corrupt, lawless, and partisan decision by the State Board of Elections,” Hoh said, alluding to the three Democrats on the SBE who voted against recognizing the Green Party.
The SBE says Green Party representatives themselves have acknowledged in published statements that fraudulent signatures were submitted, but the question is whether there are still enough valid signatures to qualify the party for recognition in the state.
State law is that the party must receive 13,865 real signatures from registered voters, including at least 200 signatures from at least three congressional districts.
“We all recognize how important this decision is, but we cannot provide a clear recommendation to the State Board without enough information to determine whether the party has collected the number of valid signatures required by law,” Brinson Bell said.
The SBE says the investigation so far has found:
- Numerous fake signatures on petition pages, “indicating an organized effort to falsify signatures.”
- 38 individuals who contacted a single county board of elections stating they did not sign the petition in which their names were listed.
- Among a sample of voters listed on pages gathered by a subject in the criminal investigation, an overwhelming ratio of such voters told state investigators they did not sign versus those who said they did.
- The Green Party and a presumed candidate hired individuals who submitted false signatures and were paid by the signature. These individuals, who collected thousands of signatures, have not cooperated with the investigation, thus investigators do not know exactly how many false signatures were submitted.
- Same handwriting throughout many pages.
- Numerous lines with incomplete information, or where the name, address, or date of birth was crossed out.
- Duplicate voters.
- Partial dates of birth.
The State Board met on Thursday where the updated information was given.
The Green Party says it will be holding a press conference Friday afternoon with Hoh speaking.
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