State investigates voter drive
newsobserver.com | News
By RYAN TEAGUE BECKWITH, Staff Writer
Offhand, Prens Ferrell doesn't remember President Bush's party affiliation, his first name or his opponent in the fall election.
He also doesn't know how his own personal information ended up on a Wake County voter-registration form. Even if he cared about politics, Ferrell couldn't vote.
He is only 15.
Because of problems on Prens' form and others, the State Board of Elections is investigating a voter-registration campaign in Wake County.
To see if you are registered to vote in North Carolina, check the State Board of Elections Web site at www.sboe .state.nc.us. In Wake County, you can also call the county board of elections at (919) 856-6240.
Voters whose registration forms were turned in after June 25 will not show up in the state or county database for another week because of today's runoff election.
Some of the forms turned in by the N.C. Public Interest Research Group had nonexistent addresses, suspiciously similar signatures, or birth dates that appear to have been altered, said county Elections Director Cherie Poucher.
In Prens' case, the form misspelled his first name and listed him as having been born in 1986, and not 1989, though his address, phone number and other information were correct.
In another, a man's last name was listed as "James," but the form was signed "Jones."
Other forms list streets that do not exist in Wake County or give street numbers that are too high. "We've got a mess," Poucher said.
Twenty-three forms of 4,000 turned in by N.C. PIRG workers have been forwarded to a state investigator, but Poucher said "a couple hundred" others were being held because of illegibility and other problems.
This is the first time since Poucher became elections director in 1991 that the state has investigated a voter-registration campaign in Wake County.
Laura Hepp, canvass director for the Community Voters Project of N.C. PIRG, said that there is a "margin of error" in any campaign but that workers double-check all forms before turning them in to the board of elections.